- File Size: 919 KB
- Print Length: 264 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Mount Street Press (September 10, 2014)
- Publication Date: September 10, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00NI0N6ZK
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,954 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Imbroglio at the Villa Pozzi (An Angela Marchmont Mystery Book 6) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 264 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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It's murder, of course. You know how she is. She's on vacation in sunny Italy. (Without her faithful maid Marthe and her enterprising driver William. I missed them.) She's slogged through museums and ancient buildings in Florence and is looking forward to seeing the fabled canals of romantic Venice. Unfortunately, she's unable to resist the pleas of a friend in trouble and is diverted north to Stresa. Her congenial new acquaintance - a lively widow named Elsa Peters - is headed there and that's an added incentive.
Stresa is a lovely small town on Lake Maggiore near the Swiss border and Angela is soon settled happily into a comfortable hotel enjoying the society of the sizable English colony. Of course, where there are English living abroad there must be an English church for them to attend or they might "go over to Rome." Angela's friend Mary Ainsley is married to the vicar who's presently in a state of high dudgeon because he believes that a mother-daughter team of spiritualists is luring away his congregants. It's bad enough that the English are so addled by the balmy Mediterranean weather that they lose their morals and start acting like the wicked Italians. Communing with the dead is the last straw!
Spiritualism enjoyed great popularity in England in the 1920's (as Mary Ainsley says, "it's all the rage.") Many families lost husbands, sons, or brothers in WWI and those who promised to put the grieving wives, mothers, or sisters in touch with their dead loved ones did brisk business. Most non-believers shared Angela's indulgent attitude that the harmless practice brought comfort to the bereaved, but Mr. Ainsley is convinced that Mrs. and Miss Quinn are fleecing the gullible. Angela agrees to look into it and starts by posing as a widow and attending a seance to contact her still-very-much-alive husband. Mrs. Quinn's spirit guide (the ancient Egyptian Thutmose) sees right through this subterfuge and calls Angela a rude name before disappearing back into the mists. Insulted by a spook! Serves her right for sticking her nose in.
Then there's the suspicious "suicide" of someone who may (or may not) have promised to bequeath money to the Quinns. It's followed by a second, even MORE suspicious suicide in the English colony. Angela isn't buying either one and neither is the local policia - the impassive Mr. D'Onofrio. As he is fully aware, however, the government's main concern is keeping the income from ex-pats and tourists flowing into Stressa. Suicides are preferable to murders and he doesn't want to lose his job. However, he does see the down side of letting a murderer get away with it and he's happy to have the English lady-detective nosing around.
There's a major complication in the form of an attractive gentleman out of Angela's past. (If you've read the earlier books in the series, you already know him.) They're the most entertaining sparing partners since Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and only one thing stops the course of true love. He's a crook. While Angela doesn't really (as she claims sarcastically) spend her time teaching Sunday School and knitting clothes for the poor, she's always been on the right side of the law. Will she be lured astray by a romantic man and all that sunshine?
The battle rages on as to whether these books were written in the 1920's (as claimed) or if they are of more recent production. Frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn. They're full of delightful characters such as Mrs. Quinn - the world's most likable medium. She's the sort of down-to-earth, never-met-a-stranger kind of woman whom you expect to see selling eggs and butter at a farm store or behind the bar at your local pub. Instead, she contacts the dead and tells people's fortunes, dispensing common sense advice cheerfully and hoping for the best. If I met Mrs. Quinn, I'd probably take up spiritualism myself.
When we last saw Angela, it was in the snow drifts of mid-winter Scotland. I think the trip to Italy was an inspired idea, moral lapses and all. I hope this series continues. Maybe it's creeping senility, but I'm enjoying them. This particular one reminds me of E.F. Benson's wonderful "Lucia" books where the spiritualism craze provides unexpected and frequently hilarious complications.