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John Mortimer is a novelist, playwright and former practising barrister. Among his many publications are several volumes of Rumpole stories and a trilogy of political novels (Paradise Postponed, Titmuss Regained and The Sound of Trumpets) featuring aspiring Conservative MP, Leslie Titmuss. Sir John received a knighthood in 1998 for his services to the arts.
Bossily capable Molly Pargeter--devoted to Italian Renaissance art and amateur sleuthing--drags her reluctant family to a Tuscan villa. ``Although the momentum falters slightly midway, Mortimer's seemingly effortless command of his craft makes this combination of well-plotted mystery and lightly barbed comedy a compelling pleasure,'' concluded PW. (July)
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