The premise of this book is an interesting one but it falls flat in certain areas. It’s a short novella so maybe this is why it doesn’t quite fulfil its promise.
It would certainly appeal to the YA market and has a feel of R L Stine and Christopher Pike books. There is certainly a great deal of suspense in the opening chapters of the book and the doorbell and 3.33 time element was intriguing.
The plot became a little disjointed in the second half and some of the references, such as the nod to one particular book on the detective’s shelf which later became part of the tale felt a little forced.
That said, there is enough suspense to make you want to finish the story to find out how it all links together and the cliffhanger ending when you think everything has been resolved is perfect.
The Disappearance of Signora Giulia, originally published by Italian author Piero Chiara under the title ‘I Giovedi della Signora Giulia’ in 1970 is the first of his works to be translated into English.
As is to be expected from the title, the novel surrounds the mysterious disappearance of the wife of lawyer Esengrini, who enlists the help of detective Sciancalepre in discovering her fate.
What unravels seems at first to be straighforward. Giulia, who each Thursday, travelled to visit her daughter at university whilst also frequently meeting a man with whom she was having an affair, appears to simply have decided to leave her husband in favour of her new love. However, as the plot develops, we discover that Giulia does in fact, seem to have vanished without trace.
Over a period of three years, the mystery deepens and when a strange figure appears within the grounds of the family home during the night, it becomes apparent that Giulia’s disappearance is actually more sinister than it first appeared.
This is a novella and the narrative is simple, yet fast-paced, which holds the reader’s interest. The twist in the plot towards the end is compelling but ultimately frustrating as, without revealing any spoilers, it ends with more questions than answers!