Friday, January 26, 2024

Have a sneak peek between the covers of Linda Lappin's fabulous novel — Signatures in Stone #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour @LindaLappin1 @cathiedunn

Signatures in Stone

A Bomarzo Mystery

by Linda Lappin

Captivating critics and readers, SIGNATURES IN STONE, was the OVERALL WINNER in the DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARDS for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense Writing - best mystery of 2013

Rome, Italy - November 2023 - Pleasure Boat Studio is thrilled to announce the release of the second edition of Linda Lappin's celebrated novel, SIGNATURES IN STONE: A BOMARZO MYSTERY. This captivating suspense tale takes readers on a thrilling journey through the enigmatic Monster Park of Bomarzo, also known as the Sacred Wood, an extraordinary Baroque sculpture garden in Italy. With the 500th anniversary of the park's creation, this edition is accompanied by a magnificent new cover and a series of Tarot card illustrations by Santa Fe artist Carolyn Florek.

In SIGNATURES IN STONE, readers are transported to the atmospheric setting of the Monster Park of Bomarzo, a sixteenth-century garden adorned with mythical creatures believed to represent a terrifying journey into the realm of nightmares. Against this backdrop, four travelers find themselves intertwined in a fate-driven Italian holiday. Daphne, a British writer of occult mysteries, her down-on-his-luck aristocratic publisher Nigel, the aspiring artist and American gigolo Clive, and the art historian Professor Finestone, all converge in a dilapidated villa near the park. They are attended by rustic servants who harbor secrets of their own.

Professor Finestone has made a groundbreaking discovery, revealing that the garden was designed by one of Italy's greatest artists as a transformative experience that delves into the shadow side of life. Over the centuries, the park's meanders continue to influence the minds and destinies of those who venture within. As the group explores their heart's desires amidst the haunting sculptures, they become entangled in a web of intrigue and danger. When Daphne, renowned for writing cozy murder tales, becomes the prime suspect in a shocking homicide, she must confront her own darkness and rely on her sleuthing skills to uncover the terrifying truth.

Linda Lappin's gripping tale presents an intriguing exploration of gardens in Renaissance Italy, where they were regarded as tools for altering consciousness and changing destiny. The Monster Park of Bomarzo becomes the backdrop for a "Gothic-in-Wonderland" phantasmagoria, immersing readers in a suspenseful and thrilling journey.

New Edition of Linda Lappin's Award-Winning SIGNATURES IN STONE: A BOMARZO MYSTERY Commemorates the 500th Anniversary of the Monster Park.

Praise for Signatures in Stone:

"Layers of mystery are woven into Linda Lappin's beautifully written and atmospheric historical novel set in Bomarzo, Italy's enigmatic park of stone monsters."

~ Gigi Pandian, author of The Accidental Alchemist.

"Deftly mixing fascinating art history and murder with an exotic atmospheric setting (the Bomarzo garden actually exists), dramatic historical period (1928 fascist Italy), and fully fleshed characters, Lappin (The Etruscan) has written a hallucinatory gothic mystery in which no one is as they appear. Daphne is a most memorable, if a bit unreliable narrator. Readers looking for an intelligent summer mystery will find much to savor here."

~ Wilda Williams, Library Journal 

Finestone paused on the threshold, as if waiting to see my reaction, then stepped in behind me, seized my arm, and began my guided tour: “In the mid-sixteenth century,” he began, “when this place was created, parks and gardens were meant to offer more than just an aesthetic experience, a pleasant promenade in the shade or a showcase for flowerbeds. They were models of the cosmos and also tools for altering one’s consciousness, possibly for changing one’s destiny. Entering a place like this was like succumbing to a dream. Every detail was intended to produce a specific effect on the mind and body, to excite and soothe the senses like a drug. To awaken the unconscious self.”


The sculptures came at you helter skelter, truly like images in a dream. Wherever a crest of rock or boulder protruded from the ground, there had the sculptor’s chisel captured another frenzied spirit of the underworld.

Strewn around us were river gods, pouting putti, lustful Pans; ogres, nymphs and beasties; creatures shaken free from the bowels of the earth by some cataclysm, ready to sink back in at a moment’s notice if the earth should heave again.

“The park may conceivably contain an encoded message. Its statues and sculptures may spell out a formula for making gold, or for what gold symbolized to the alchemists: Immortality. Redemption. Eternal Love. Wisdom. Something of a sort dissimulated by private pictograms,” said Finestone. 

“So the Monster Park is a sort of book,” I ventured, “a book of emblems hewn in stone, conveying a message, telling a story, revealing an enigma. “

“You mean,” he said, “concealing one.”

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Linda Lappin

Linda Lappin, poet, translator, novelist, and travel writer is the prize-winning author of four novels: The Etruscan (Wynkin deWorde, 2004); Katherine’s Wish (Wordcraft, 2008), dealing with the last five years of Katherine Mansfield’s life; Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2013, 2023), overall winner of the Daphne Du Maurier award for best mystery novel of 2013; and Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne (Serving House Books, 2020), 2021 Daphne Du Maurier award finalist and shortlisted for the 2021 Montaigne Medal for Books of Distinction. 

She is also the author of The Soul of Place: Ideas and Exercises for Conjuring the Genius Loci (Travelers Tales, 2015), winner of a Nautilus Award in the category of creativity in 2015.

A former Fulbright scholar to Italy, she has lived mainly in Rome for over thirty years. She is at work on a second Daphne Dublanc mystery novel, Melusine, set in Bolsena. The second edition of Signatures in Stone (2023) has been issued to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Monster Park.

Connect with Linda:

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Bluesky

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