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The Last Enemy

by Grace Brophy

The Last Enemy (Commissario Cenni Investigation)

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Rita Minelli grew up in Brooklyn, the only child of a narcissistic Italian mother and the GI she married at the end of World War II. After her mother’s death, Rita quits her teaching job and descends upon her poor but aristocratic relatives, the Count and Countess Casati, in Assisi. It is a while before they realize, to their chagrin, that Rita has come to stay. But when the family assembles to watch the penitents’ procession in the town square during Easter Week, Rita does not join them as planned. Her corpse is later found in the family mausoleum. Alessandro Cenni, a commissario in the State Police of Umbria, must unearth the secrets of the Casati family and their circle if he is to discover who killed Rita and why. But he is blocked by their powerful right-wing connections, and by a superior who would rather arrest a scapegoat than risk political suicide. Aided by a loyal staff in his quest for justice, he still must acknowledge that no one can defeat the last enemy, death itself.

A Deadly Paradise

by Grace Brophy

In the peaceful Umbrian village of Paradiso, the murder and mutilation of an elderly German woman is bewildering. That is, until Inspector Alessandro Cenni of the State Police discovers that this retired cultural attaché was not only a difficult tenant and a blackmailer, but a bisexual swinger who recently had a female lover in residence. The dead woman grew up in occupied Venice, and one of her secrets from World War II might have surfaced. And the bucolic village is not that innocent: it was the site of a scandalous murder 50 years earlier. Cenni’s boss wants a scapegoat, and the woman’s young former lover is the obvious target, but Cenni cannot bring himself to close the case without bringing the true perpetrator to justice.

Marcus of Umbria: What an Italian Dog Taught an American Girl about Love

by Justine van der Leun

Readers will delight in this tale of an urbanite who leaves her magazine job to move to Collelungo, Italy, population: 200. There, in the ancient city center of a historic Umbrian village, she sets up house with the enticing local gardener she met on vacation only weeks earlier. This impulsive decision launches an eye-opening series of misadventures when village life and romance turn out to be radically different from what she had imagined.

Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy

by Michael Tucker

The actor Michael Tucker and his wife, the actress Jill Eikenberry, having sent their last child off to college, were vacationing in Italy when they happened upon a small cottage nestled in the Umbrian countryside. The 350-year-old Rustico sat perched on a hill in the verdant Spoleto valley amid an olive grove and fruit trees of every kind. For the Tuckers, it was literally love at first sight, and the couple purchased the house without testing the water pressure or checking for signs of termites. Shedding the vestiges of their American life, Michael and Jill endeavored to learn the language, understand the nuances of Italian culture, and build a home in this new chapter of their lives. Both a celebration of a good marriage and a careful study of the nature of home, Living in a Foreign Language is a gorgeous, organic travelogue written with an epicurean’s delight in detail and a gourmand’s appreciation for all things fine.

Not in a Tuscan Villa

by John Petralia & Nancy Petralia

What happens if you decide to make a dream come true? Newly retired and looking for more than a vacation, John and Nancy Petralia intrepidly pack a few suitcases and head to the “perfect” Italian city. Within days their dream becomes a nightmare. After residing in two Italian cities, negotiating the roads and healthcare, discovering art, friends, food, and customs, the Petralias learn more than they anticipate–about Italy, themselves, what it means to be American, and what’s important in life. Part memoir, part commentary, quirky and sincere, Not in a Tuscan Villa is about having the courage to step out of your comfort zone and do something challenging in later life. The adventure recaptures the Petralia’s youth, rekindles their romance–and changes their lives forever.