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Summer's Lease Paperback – May 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140158278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140158274
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The advertisement that Molly Pargenter answered made the Tuscany villa to let sound like the ideal placesuspiciously too idealfor her family to spend its summer vacation. Arriving in Italy with her husband, three daughters, and father, she finds an unusual assortment of locals and English expatriates for neighbors, as well as detailed notes on the proper use of the house left by her absentee landlord, one S. Kettering. Molly's obsession with learning as much as possible about the Kettering household leads her to some ominous conclusions. Mortimer (author of Rumpole of the Bailey and a writer for the television series Brideshead Revisted ) has blended elements of social satire and mystery into an entertaining story whose atmosphere of mounting tension culminates in a disturbing climax. Lonnie Beene, West Texas State Univ. Lib., Canyon
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Mortimer is a playwright, novelist, and former practicing barrister who has written many film scripts as well as stage, radio, and television plays, the Rumpole plays, for which he received the British Academy Writer of the Year Award, and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. He is the author of twelve collections of Rumpole stories and three acclaimed volumes of autobiography.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on June 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
John Mortimer is an extremely literate and witty writer of books, screen plays, and other material, including the Rumpole series. This book is a bit different from his other books, including Dunster. "Summer Lease" is his best book as far as I am concerned. The protagonist is a woman named Molly Pargeter. One might not beleive the creater of Mrs. Rumpole (She Who Must Be Obeyed)could manage an authentic female protagonist, but he does.
Molly is an English woman married to a successful English man, successful enough to afford a villa in Tuscany for the summer--a summer's lease. Molly's semi-absent husband may or may not be faithful but they share an "unfriendly matrimonial bed." Her mostly grown children have their own lives, and her father living down the road has his own interests which don't include Molly.
Left with time on her hands, Molly begins to wonder about her absent landlord. What is he up to? By doing a bit of 'detecting' she discovers the answer. At the end of the summer's lease, she has also acquired personal insight into her own life and issues. I especially enjoyed the varous scenarios Mortimer depicts as Molly moves around Tuscany, tracking the landlord, or attending to her own business -- viewing paintings in museums, attending the horse races, walking along the dusty roads, etc. This book is a good "read."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book because I saw the Masterpiece Theatre production on TV in the early nineties and fell in love with the characters and the story. This is the type of detective mystery novel where one can truly relate to the detective as she is an average person with a highly developed sense of curiosity. While I shared Molly's intense curiosity about her absent landlord and her outrage at the so called "water racket", I would not have gone as far as she did to satisfy that curiosity. Molly is rather reckless (if not stupid) towards the end and doesn't realize the consequences of her actions until too late - and even then chalks it up to coincidence. All in all the book is a quick and delightful read that will have you longing to travel to those Tuscan hills. I wish Masterpiece Theatre would rerun the film or make it available on video. You've got to see the film. The cast was so well chosen and the locations are beautiful, especially the terrace on La Felicita.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Irene Aiello on June 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
The book is set in Tuscauny, where an English family is renting a home. Odd things happen, water disappears, and then someone dies. The mother, Molly Partiger, becomes obsesses with getting to the heart of these mysteries, and with meeting her mysterious landlord. It is a particular pleasure to see Mortimer's love of Shakespeare come through in Molly's Falstaff of a father, and the Hamlet-like play-within-a-play which gives Molly the final clue to the murder. Interwoven with the plot is an homage to Piero della Francesca (although it has been written that Mortimer gets everything wrong about Piero's Flagellation). The book ends with typical Mortimer poigniancy. Summer's Lease is light in the way that a Tom Stoppard play is light -- an intelligent guilty pleasure.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "pdquick" on October 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a quaint and entertaining novel. The characters are interesting and carry the story well. The plot is simple, but not boring and certainly not bad. The introspective thoughts and actions of Molly the forty year old protaganist who looks for love in all the wrong places, Hugh her "successful" attorney husband and Havorford Downs, Molly's rogue father are most captivating.
It's a lighthearted mystery in which the writer allows the reader to participate at any depth the latter prefers.
Descriptions of Tuscany are well done to the point that this reader could almost see lines of slim cypress lining a dirt road and smell the pungent aroma of a bottle of black rooster labeled Chianti. There were times while reading that I couldn't help but laugh out loud. There are some really funny moments in the tale.
Brits who read the novel will, I feel certain, fall right in line with the story. We Yanks, on the other hand, need a little time to acclimate ourselves to British verbal nuances. Surprisingly, though, it didn't hinder the reading enjoyment even a little bit.
This novel is one for a summer's day, with a glass of tea (forgive me, but iced tea) in hand. While the book will not be ranked with the geat ones of western civilization, it is fun. Truly a delightful experience.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
I did love this book. Having spent a summer in Sienna in 1969, reading this was like taking a trip back there. I especially enjoyed the mystery surrounding an enigmatic painting. This is a good companion book to "Under the Tuscan Sun", and I must admit, I liked this better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sue Bentley on September 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This sun-drenched, garlic-scented novel has a subplot of water -stealing and chicanery and a main story of an Englishwoman who is looking for romance.
The main character is Molly, a large, slightly boring woman who becomes involved in real-life mystery and murder and yet is not touched by it, whilst a postcard, a portrait and a strage coupling of a toad and a snake move her deeply and harshly. She is a silly owman yet you like her. Her appalling father is, I think, the kind of man the author John Mortimer would like to be (or maybe is?), an irreverant, literary man with a childlike mischief and a high libedo.
A fantastic read on many levels.
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