A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri

Perhaps the suspicion of fraud enhances the flavor. C. S. Forester

Italian summers...location, location, location

Claire Bliss, my heroine, certainly knows her stuff when it comes to finding a blissful (sorry) place to live. The hills of Le Marche are stunning and on a day like this with a gentle breeze and a temperature in the high seventies (F), who can find fault with anything?

This weather in this location, however, can lead to laziness. Claire and Baldo are anything but lazy, and they do their sleuthing in less luxurious weather. On days like this, one can lie on one’s back and allow the apricots to drop directly from the tree into the lap. The olives are showing now on the trees…green of course. Roses are putting on their second performance and the humans are packing up the car for the great August get-away.

The opera season is on in one of Italy’s great venues…here in Le Marche, at Sferisterio in Macerata. An open-air theater built in the 1820’s, it’s grand. This season, Rigoletto was amazing with one of the finest sopranos we have ever heard, Claudia Pavone. The great and the good, and the ordinary, all convene to take in the most beautiful music on summer nights when the stars are out and the heat of the sun is gone.

The medieval hill towns all have their individual celebrations of their traditions and their histories. Some have a pallio (e.g. the beautiful stage-set town San Ginesio), and then there are the parties such as the Vino Cotto Festival in Loro Piceno that happens to be one of the settings in this novel. Loro Piceno happens to know exactly how to put on a fantastic fireworks display. Thank you!

Contrary to popular believe, Italian people do actually work in August, but not if they can help it. Many take a vacation in July so as to be at the ready for the onslaught in August. The beaches are jam packed, as are the most beautiful spots in the Sibillini Mountains.

I could go on and on…have you noticed?