I suppose if you’re going to get kidnapped, there are worse places for it to happen than Italy.
Ornella, an Australian of Italian descent, is vacationing in Sicily when she meets Hugh, an American archaeologist. Hugh’s dig has uncovered a priceless artifact, which he shows Ornella shortly before asking her to join him in spending a day hiking around a volcano on Stromboli. Ornella says yes; something makes her inherently trust Hugh, although she tells him there will be no sex.
But they do share passion, and the next morning, breakfast. Hugh goes to pay the check and … vanishes.
Ornella is convinced harm has come to him, whereas Hugh struggles to understand if Ornella had anything to do with his abduction. She sets out to find him, while he tries to survive.
I don’t want to say much more about the plot because there are twists here and there, and I don’t want to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that Philippa Fioretti knows how to write a mystery. She varies her pacing between the frantic confusion that Hugh and Ornella feel with the slow, warm passion they shared during their one night. Nothing is quite what it appears to be here, other than Hugh and Ornella. And even then …
There is a lot to enjoy about this book. The mystery is realistic and does not feel forced, and the twists and turns don’t feel manufactured for shock value. In fact, you might even figure out some of them ahead of time. The bigger mystery – what of Hugh and Ornella – takes the longest to unfold, but it’s worth it. You get to know the two of them during that time as Fioretti lets you get to know her hero and heroine.
And despite the whole kidnapping thing, you might just want to book a flight to Italy when you’ve finished reading.