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The Villa of Mysteries | [David Hewson]

The Villa of Mysteries

In Rome's crowded Campo dei Fiori, a woman rushes up to two carabinieri lounging in their sunglasses and uniforms, insisting that her 16-year-old daughter has just been abducted. Detective Nic Costa sees the scene unfold and intervenes. Because Costa knows what the two officers don't: that in the morgue at Rome's police headquarters, a forensic pathologist is examining the strange, mummified corpse of another girl, whose disappearance and death bear haunting similarities.
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Publisher's Summary

In Rome's crowded Campo dei Fiori, a woman rushes up to two carabinieri lounging in their sunglasses and uniforms, insisting that her 16-year-old daughter has just been abducted. Detective Nic Costa sees the scene unfold and intervenes. Because Costa knows what the two officers don't: that in the morgue at Rome's police headquarters, a forensic pathologist is examining the strange, mummified corpse of another girl, whose disappearance and death bear haunting similarities.

Police pathologist Teresa Lupo is Nic's colleague, friend, and his only equal when it comes to breaking the rules to get results, whatever the cost. Now, after years of living with the dead, Teresa insists that her superiors move quickly to save a life. Poring over the body of the girl in the morgue, she has found too many similarities between the girls, including a unique, leering tattoo. Lupo is sure that the vanished girl is headed for a bizarre ancient Bacchanalia involving virgins and sacrificial murder: a ritual that is only days away.

As Nic and Teresa claw at the case from two sides, and as Nic finds himself at once puzzled and beguiled by the missing girl's seductive mother, a chilling picture is beginning to emerge of secret relationships and sexual depravity, organized crime and unimaginable corruption. With the clock ticking down on a young girl's life, Nic and Teresa are about to make the most horrifying discovery of all: in a pit of human darkness, where an age-old malevolence still endures, evil has consumed innocence. And a very modern vengeance has begun.

©2004 David Hewson; (P)2004 W F Howes Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (59 )
5 star
 (14)
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 (21)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (4)
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3.8 (12 )
5 star
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Story
3.8 (12 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Vincent Burlington, VT, USA 12-31-07
    Vincent Burlington, VT, USA 12-31-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Italian accents"

    Hewson's books are great, but I far prefer the other narrator, the one who read The Sacred Cut and The Seventh Sacrament. This one, in addition to mispronouncing Italian words (which the other guy also did), reads all the dialogues with an Italian accent. This is absurd! Italians do not speak to each other in English with an Italian accent! Obviously they would speak in Italian and without a foreign accent, and since the book is in English, can't we just assume we are reading a translation into English of what they said, and dismiss the silly accents, please? As they stand, the accents are very distracting and make a caricature of what are otherwise excellent dialogues. Do listen anyway, though, because these are great books, engaging at every level and far better written than Dan Brown's.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carola OberurselGermany 01-19-08
    Carola OberurselGermany 01-19-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    419
    15
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    "con gusto!"

    Engaging, amusing characters. Plenty of surprises that keep you guessing until the end. A mystery with special pleasures for archaeology buffs and anyone who has ever visited Rome.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Silicon Valley 10-29-08
    Amazon Customer Silicon Valley 10-29-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    "If you can get past the cheesy accents"

    ...then this book is a pretty good mystery. Why they chose to do the main characters (all Italian) with REALLY bad Italian accented English is beyond me, maybe because there were one or two English speaking characters?

    I do plan to keep up with the series, but will probably read the rest.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine N.Hollywood, CA, USA 08-20-08
    Katherine N.Hollywood, CA, USA 08-20-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    312
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    "What's with the bad Italian accents?!"

    After starting with, and very much enjoying, the most recent book (The Garden of Evil) in this series, I decided to go back to the begining. The first book was great and so was this one, but the Itallian accents!! Eek. The narrator is actaully pretty good, but the accent he uses for the Italians is not only the same for all characters, but it sounds like Triumph the insult comic dog. Awful!! It was difficult to take the characters seriously. And most annoying was that it was VERY difficult to tell who was speaking when the characters were all Italian. I still recommend the book, but I think a new reader is called for. Be aware of what you are getting when you download this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hallie south hiram, ME, USA 05-23-08
    Hallie south hiram, ME, USA 05-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    62
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    "Silly Accents"

    Despite the accent which at first makes the characters sound silly,(you get used to it)the story is engaging and the characters interesting. I found this book very entertaining.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Fayetteville, AR, United States 01-30-08
    Dan Fayetteville, AR, United States 01-30-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "good story horrible narration"

    This is my third Hewson book. I wondered during the first book why a story set in Venice with Rome police would use a heavily British accent. I got used to the British accent and idioms in the second book. The third book, The Villa of Mysteries, answered all my questions. The narrator used the fakest of all fake Italian accents and the accents used speaking the British idiom almost ruined the book for me. The story fit the Hewson's style, seems well researched and follows familiar characters of the Rome police department. A major feature of the book involving a 7 year old boy strains the reader's ability to swallow a premise but huge jumps of acceptance are the hallmark of this genre. If you can get past the narration, and that is a big if, the story is worth the effort.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
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  • Sarah
    Truro, United Kingdom
    2/29/08
    Overall
    "I agree with Gwen"

    I just want to echo everything that Gwen has said about this book. It is the first audiobook I have actually given up on. I cannot listen to any more of it.

    Having listened to and really enjoyed the later Nic Costa books narrated by Saul Reichlin I was delighted when three earlier David Hewson books appeared recently on Audiobooks but I am very disappointed. The narration is so terrible on this one I shall not bother with the other two.

    Hopefully Saul Reichlin will narrate any future audiobooks by David Hewson. His narration is brilliant.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Gwen
    IpswichUnited Kingdom
    2/8/08
    Overall
    "Oh my gosh ..."

    Well if I thought the first book in the Rome series was narrated badly, then this one is awful. I am about an hour from finishing it. The listener will have to endure all of the Italian characters (i.e. most of the characters in the book) being narrated in an accent like 'oh shuddup-a-ya-face'.

    I do not know how much this has detracted from this book but I am also disappointed by the main thread of this story - a story often related by less able authors and dirty old men. I also really disliked Eyes Wide Shut for similar reasons.

    I am going to proceed to listen to the 5th in the Rome series, safe in the knowledge that Saul Reichlin is reading it, and hope that it will be much less gratuitous than this, the second.

    I am aware that this has disturbed me much more than any of the violence in other books - this may be true for other female listeners.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Tilde
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    2/28/09
    Overall
    "Chico Marx accent"

    I cannot but agree with several other reviewers. The Chico Marx accent that the reader uses for every Italian character (the majority) detracts so much from the novel that it is almost impossible to listen through. A waste of money ... unless you think you will like the combination of a crime-novel with Chico Marx.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Catherine
    Montefiascone, Italy
    6/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nic Costa back in full form!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A relaxing way of enjoying a marvellous detective story, read by an excellent actor.The places referred to in and around Rome are spot on and precise.The only blemish was having Kay "Italianise" the pronunciation of the various Italian characters. It was tiring and disturbing, especially for those who actually speak Italian!They should have spoken English with an anglophone accent to convey the impression that for them their accents were "normal".


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lynda
    Beckenham, United Kingdom
    8/27/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Appalling accents"
    What would have made The Villa of Mysteries better?

    Saul Reichlin reading it would have made it better! Or any reader who didn't use caricature Italian accents! And if you are going to try Italian accents (please not again!) at least pronounce Italian words correctly eg Machiato is not pronounced 'ch' but 'k'. The reader of the first book was good I thought with his regional English accents but I am just going to move on to Book three which I know is in Saul Reichlin's safe pair of hands. Poor Christopher Kay; it must be awful to receive these reviews but really he gave an awful performance. I too was immensely irritated throughout and also the weird pronunciation of 'cadaver' drove me crazy. I can't imagine why readers don't look up any pronunciations they are not sure of ... they should do their homework first.


    Would you be willing to try another book from David Hewson? Why or why not?

    Yes. I have 'read' three and like them with a good reader.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Christopher Kay’s performances?

    I'm afraid not if it contained foreign voices. If all are English, he could be fine perhaps.


    What character would you cut from The Villa of Mysteries?

    I don't think this is his best book and several of the characters are too caricature so I can't really pick one that stands out.


    Any additional comments?

    Stop calling 'crazy Teresa' Crazy Teresa. It's irritating to go on and on. We've got the message! She's a reasonable character without the silly name.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Oldspiceis
    Bolton, Lancs UK
    8/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Spoilt by Accents"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Story excellent as with all David Hewson books


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    No particular favourite character


    Did Christopher Kay do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

    Christopher Kay ruined the listening pleasure by insisting on giving virtually every character a really naff, bad Italian accent. The falseness of the accents ruined the listening pleasure for me


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It was an intriguing, complex story which I always enjoy


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • PinkMilk
    London
    4/9/13
    Overall
    "Can't keep listening"

    The narration of this book is so awful.... I'm about one and a half hours into listening and have to give up. Sadly, because the book seems really good so far, but I wish the narrator hadn't attempted an Italian accent.- his pronunciation even of Italian places like Trestevere is so wrong. And why doesn't he know how to say cadaver????! What a shame, I think I might actually have to buy the book if I want to continue with the Rome Series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Steven
    Old Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom
    4/8/11
    Overall
    "Italian?"

    Very well written book slightly marred by comedy Italian accents.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    4/3/11
    Overall
    "Distracted by an accent"

    Unlike your other reviewers I thought the book was excellent in plot and telling. I fail to see how people that only stick 30 or 40 minutes with a book can make any comment at all. The story line was good and we all despise violence, especially against women, but it happens. The Italian accents of the reader were a bit off the cuff but it's the story, not the accent that's under review.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dianne
    Cape TownSouth Africa
    7/1/10
    Overall
    "Most irritating reader ever"

    I thoroughly enjoy David Hewson's books, but this narrator is ridiculous. His annoying Italian 'accent' completely detracts from the story, so much so that I have deleted the whole book without listening to more than 10 minutes. Hopefully Saul Reichlin will narrate this one in future.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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