The Villa Triste, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Florence, 1943. Two sisters, Isabella and Caterina Cammaccio, find themselves surrounded by terror and death; and with Italy trapped under the heel of a brutal Nazi occupation, bands of Partisans rise up.

Soon Isabella and Caterina will test their wits and deepest beliefs as never before.

As the winter grinds on, they will be forced to make the most important decisions of their lives.

Their choices will reverberate for decades. In the present day, Alessandro Pallioti, a senior policeman agrees to oversee a murder investigation, after it emerges the victim was once a Partisan hero.

When the case begins to unravel, Pallioti finds himself working to uncover a crime lost in the twilight of war, the consequences of which are as deadly today as they were over sixty years ago. 'Grindle vividly evokes Florence as few tourists see it ...Here is the perfect summer holiday read' Literary Review 'Grindle saves her best story-weaving to the thrilling denouement that creates a surprise as unexpected and delicious as the finest Florentine cuisine' Daily Express


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780330509497



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This is more ambitious than the run-of-the-mill crime fiction at £0.89, and worth much more in every sense.It takes the form of the diary of an Italian anti-fascist partisan interleaved with a contemporary whodunnit, the solution to the latter obviously relating closely to the events described in the former.I found both parts of the narrative equally engaging, for different reasons, and with different reservations: the diary entries, concerning events surrounding the deaths of a partisan unit in 1944 were affecting in their evocation of what must have been horrendous times. But the characterisation here was flat, causing a particular problem because so much of the novel turns on identities (real, imagined and stolen), more specifically names (married, maiden and assumed). With only a couple of exceptions, I was quite unable to remember who on earth was who (although, come to think of it, this may be entirely intentional on the part of the author).The contemporary detective novel is well enough done, although in these pages, while the smaller cast of characters is more easily distinguishable, they seem comparatively trivial; we get, too, little sense of contemporary Florence, or of any meaningful relationship between Italy and her past, except in the very specific cases of individual partisans, sixty years on. A minor cavil, perhaps.The end of the novel comes more as a satisfying resolution than surprising revelation, but is no less effective for that.I would heartily recommend this book to readers interested in a story of Italian resistance; it will be of less interest to avid thriller readers.

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