Vintage Books

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Murder Where You Least Expect It


A little boy is kidnapped as he stands with his satchel at the gate of his home, waiting for his lift to school. An ex-con finds it impossible to stay straight. A severely handicapped young woman dies in the night - has someone who loves her helped her out of this world? Once again, Susan Hill brilliantly creates a community, with detail so sharp and convincing that readers feel that these people are their neighbours. And that terror and evil are always in their midst ... The Pure in Heart is the second of Susan Hill's novels set in the English Cathedral town of Lafferton and featuring the enigmatic policeman, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler

Susan Hill

Susan Hill is an award-winning novelist. She wrote Mrs de Winter, the bestselling sequel to Rebecca, and the ghost story The Woman in Black, which was adapted for the stage and has been running in the West End for 18 years. Her most recent books are a collection of exquisite short stories, The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read, and the highly successful crime novels, The Various Haunts of Men and The Pure in Heart. She lives in Gloucestershire where she runs her own small publishing company, Longbarn Books..

The Mysterious Flame



A deeply enchanting novel about memory, history, love and old age, scattered throughout with dazzling illustrations.

The latest great work from the author of The Name of the Rose
'A beautiful evocation of a difficult period of Italian history, full of the flair and erudition for which we love Eco' Metro

Yambo, a sixty-ish rare book dealer who lives in Milan has suffered a loss of memory; not the kind of memory neurologists call 'semantic' (Yambo remembers all about Julius Caesar and can recite every poem he has ever read), but rather his 'autobiographical' memory: he no longer knows his own name, doesn't recognize his wife or his daughters, doesn't remember anything about his parents or his childhood. His wife, who is at his side as he slowly begins to recover, convinces him to return to his family home in the hills somewhere between Milan and Turin. Yambo promptly retreats to the sprawling attic, cluttered with boxes of newspapers, comics, records, photo albums and adolescent diaries. There, he relives the story of his generation: Mussolini, Catholic education and guilt, Josephine Baker, Flash Gordon, Cyrano de Bergerac. As he recovers his memory, two voids remain shrouded in fog: a terrible event he experienced during the resistance, and the vague image of a girl whom he loved at sixteen, then lost. But a relapse occurs. Now in a coma, his memories run wild, and life racing before his eyes takes the form of a graphic novel. Yambo struggles through the frames to find at last the face of the girl he loves: she descends the stairs of their high school and morphs into a Dante-esque promise (or threat) of the afterlife, as he struggles harder to capture her simple, innocent, real-life image - the schoolgirl he never forgot.

Copiously illustrated throughout with images from comics, book jackets, record sleeves and other printed ephemera, The Mysterious Flame is a fascinating and hugely entertaining new novel from the incomparable Umberto Eco.