Heidi's Reviews > Lucifer's Shadow

Lucifer's Shadow by David Hewson
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Historical mysteries, especially a combination of a present day mystery mirroring a history from the past, are my favorites, and this one kept me very interested throughout. Personally I was more interested in the present day mystery, because I found it more compelling and liked the romance better; but I enjoyed both.

Daniel Forster is an young englishman who comes to Venice to work for a vaguely shady (or is it shadowy?) antique dealer named Scacchi. He is captivated by the old man and his household, which includes an attractive housekeeper (whom I imagined as a youngish Sophia Loren.) Daniel discovers an ancient unattributed symphony in the walls of his boss' ancient palazzo and is soon caught up in an illegal intrigue involving so many threads I can't do justice to them all and won't even try. At the same time a parallel voice from the 18th century recounts the story of the composing of the symphony and how it was lost. Both stories include murder, deception, deviltry, double dealing and romance. I guessed some of the plot twists, but definitely not all of them.

This put me in mind of another delicious confection -- "The Savage Garden" by Mark Mills, where another Englishman travels to Italy and pits his very English ways against those of the wily, world weary Italians. Both were well written escapism, my favorite.

The one thing that made me like Mark Mills' novel better was that I listened to both on my iPod, and "Lucifer's Shadow" was read, during the part taking place in the 18th century, by an anglo using a very broad italian accent that was vaguely comic and ludicrous, especially when he was saying things like "he's a good chap". Now, when David Hewson was writing this I'm sure he wrote as if this were just an English translation of the Italian, but the reader did it as if he were an Italian speaking directly in English, and the language and the accent just did not mesh. I kept being aware that if I'd been reading it, I wouldn't be having the same reaction, so I would recommend reading rather than listening to this book.
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Bettie☯ This sounds perfect - I also loved The Savage Garden

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