The Villa In Italy: Four strangers. An Italian villa. A will

by Elizabeth Edmondson

Italy, 1958. None of the four strangers summoned to the magical Villa Dante on the coast of Liguria knew Beatrice Malaspina. Yet she named them in her will: Delia, an opera singer with no voice; George, a physicist haunted by the horrors unleashed at Los Alamos; Marjorie, a struggling detective novelist; and Lucius, a New York banker with grim memories of the war in Europe. They find a Palladian villa with enchanting frescoes, a medieval tower, and a garden that leads to the sea. The villa seems spellbound, with its tower locked and its fountains dry. Why are they there? Who was Beatrice Malaspina? And what is the devastating secret hidden in her villa?