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Daphne du Maurier was born in 1906 and educated at home and in Paris. She began writing in 1928, and many of her bestselling novels were set in Cornwall, where she lived for most of her life. She was made a DBE in 1969 and died in 1989.
This 1965 novel is not among du Maurier's better-known works; indeed, it is not even mentioned in her obituary in the London Times, and The New Yorker called it "extraordinarily dull." It takes place in the fictional university town of Ruffano, Italy; tour guide Armino Fabbio has returned to his childhood home, now alcoholic and homeless, after the murder of an old family servant. There he finds his brother Aldo, supposedly killed during the war; Aldo in turn believed Armino and their mother had also been killed. Aldo, insane and vicious, undertakes a play about the founder of Ruffano, Duke Claudio, against a backdrop of political unrest and town and gown conflicts. It is a dark, harsh tale of good and evil, with family secrets unearthed amidst incest, murder, rapeÄthis is not light listening. James Callis's reading is very good, with fine pacing and easily distinguishable voices. It is hard not to recommend a du Maurier title, but perhaps libraries on limited budgets should look to more widely appealing fare.ÄHarriet Edwards, East Meadow P.L., NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
She wrote exciting plots, she was highly skilled at arousing suspense, and she was, too, a writer of fearless originality - GuardianOne of the last century's most original literary talents - Daily Telegraph