Mediterranean suspense, The Villa in Italy by Elizabeth Edmondson (A Vintage Mystery) has languished in my Kindle’s to-be-read folder for far too long! Finally the What’s in a Name 2016 challenge gave me the push I needed to read it, and I am so pleased it did.
Delia, a successful opera singer, is languishing in boredom and illness when she receives a summons to a will reading. She and three other strangers have been named in the will of the eccentric, wealthy socialite Beatrice Malaspina; whom none of them ever knew. The mystery only deepens as a requirement of the will is that these four strangers must come together at Malaspina’s estate, Villa Dante in Italy. Delia with the encouragement of her, paparazzi hounded, best friend Jessica skips the country and drives down to Italy for sun, sea, good food, friendship, secrets, mystery and resolution.
Delia and Jessica are joined at the neglected but beautiful Renaissance Villa Dante by George, an idealistic scientist; Marjorie, an impoverished author; and Lucius, a banker in personal turmoil. I instantly liked Delia, George and Lucius. Jessica and Marjorie are harder to get to know and hold quite strong prejudices which are put to the test once they are altogether. It turns out Beatrice Malaspina has hidden the final codicil for her will inside the villa. To find it they must work together to find out more about each other, themselves and Malaspina. This search helps them to connect with each other, uncover secrets and to deal with painful and dark memories from their past; by the end I loved them all!
The Villa in Italy is the first novel I have read by Elizabeth Edmondson. I picked it up originally hoping for some mysterious fun in the sun, however I got a whole lot more from this wonderful novel. I found Edmondson’s style descriptive, easy and comfortable, like I’d been reading her for years, so I was immediately swept off to Italy of the 1950s. Where I could feel the warm sun, hear the waves lapping against the bay, smell the delicious food, and picture the Renaissance Villa Dante; with its colourful murals, airy bedrooms, Roman tower and it’s almost tangible secrets. I wanted to go to Italy before – now I really want to go! Then on top of that you have the issues of family rifts, forbidden love, heartbreak, the war, divorce and ethics.
The Villa in Italy was a sweeping, romantic mystery set on the beautiful Italian coast. In the future I would really like to read more by Elizabeth Edmondson. Great read.
Have you read this? Or anything else by Elizabeth Edmondson?
What’s in a Name 2016 – A Country (2/6)