The Crime Writers' Association

Gold 2011

Lucretia Grindle
The Villa Triste
longlisted
Mantle

Amazon

Synopsis: It is the Autumn of 1943. Italy signs the armistice that will take it out of the war, and slides into chaos. In Florence, two sisters, Isabella and Caterina Cammaccio, find themselves surrounded by terror and death. As the Allied advance stalls in the south, Italy is trapped under the heel of a brutal Nazi occupation. Determined to take on not only the Nazis, but also the newly resurgent Fascists, bands of Partisans rise up. Almost all of them are young. Many of them are women. They have little to rely on except ingenuity, determination, and courage. Thrust headlong into the unknown, Isabella and Caterina will test their wits and deepest beliefs as never before. As the winter grinds on, they will be forced to make the most important decisions of their lives. Their choices will reverberate for decades. In the present day, Alessandro Pallioti, one of Florence’s most senior policemen, would not normally oversee a murder …

Judges’ comments: The shocking present day murders of some surviving Partisan heroes lead a Florence police investigator deep into the past; he uncovers the absorbing story of two courageous sisters caught up in the war-time events of 1943-44, and eventually connects past crimes with current ones.