A Very Private Gentleman
By Martin Booth
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312309084, 288pp.)
Publication Date: January 2004
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The locals in the southern Italian town where he lives call him Signor Farfalla--Mr. Butterfly: for he is a discreet gentleman who paints rare butterflies. His life is inconspicuous--mornings spent brushing at a canvas, afternoons idling in the cafes, and evening talks with his friend the town priest over a glass of brandy.
Yet there are other sides to this gentleman's life: Clara: the young student who moonlights in the town bordello. And another woman who arrives with $100,000 and a commission, but not for a painting of butterflies.
With this assignment returns the dark fear that has dogged Signor Farfalla's mysterious life. Almost instantly, he senses a deadly circle closing in on him, one which he may or may not elude. Part thriller, part character study, part drama of deceit and self-betrayal, A Very Private Gentleman shows Martin Booth at the very height of his powers
Martin Booth is a critically acclaimed novelist and a documentary and feature film writer. He has written thirteen novels including Islands of Silence, Hiroshima Joe, and The Industry of Souls. His most recent non-fiction books include Opium: A History and The Doctor, the Detective and Arthur Conan Doyle -- a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
"Haunting, shocking, and tense, Booth's story is a charismatic blend of psychological thriller, vivid drama, shocking morality tale, and profound psychological study. His writing is crisp yet lyrical, simple yet intelligent. Readers looking for thought-provoking literary fiction can't do any better than this."
- Booklist (starred review)
"Booth constructs his most focused, tightly written novel to date, reminiscent of William Trevor's classic Felicia's Journey and the late Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels."
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Beautifully detailed...exquisite." - Kirkus