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Image of Villa Triste


Image of Villa Triste

Grindle skillfully merges a novel set in WWII-era Florence with a modern-day police procedural mystery without missing a beat. The clever use of a double narrative, written through first-person accounts, draws readers into this long yet page-turning tale of the heartache and horror of WWII and a 21st-century serial murder case. Believable, very human characters add to the gripping, emotional historical sections as the mystery builds to a climax.

Isabella and Caterina Cammaccio are caught up in a dangerous game when their brother joins the partisans in Nazi-occupied Italy. They soon follow, helping Jews escape and freedom fighters find safety. Caterina waits for her doctor fiancé to return so they can marry, while Isabella is determined to see the Germans ousted from Villa Triste, the villa they are using as a prison. Meanwhile, in 2006, the murder of an elderly man sends Inspector Alessandro Pallioti to Florence. He believes this killing is connected to others and finds the evidence in a copy of Caterina’s diary on the old man’s desk. With her words, he is swept back to the war. He discovers links between the victims and how the actions of war in the past have repercussions in the present. (GRAND CENTRAL, Jan., 640 pp., $14.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin