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This is the true story of the murder of Artemio Bruni, a peasant farmer in the mountains of Casentino, north-eastern Tuscany, in the winter of 1907. Artemio was my husband's great-grandfather. For reasons not understood by my husband's family, Grandpa Artemio's death was never investigated. It was not reported to the police, nor did Bruna Bruni, Artemio's wife, ever demand justice. How could that be possible, I asked my mother-in-law – mafia? 'No, no, you don't understand,' she answered. 'Things were different in the mountains one hundred years ago. Grandpa and Grandma were poor farmers, no one could have cared less about them. Grandpa was a nobody and life was cheap in Tuscany then.'"

When Australian author and journalist Lisa Clifford moved to Florence to be with her Italian husband, an unsolved murder in his family became part of her life. The more Lisa found out about it, the more intrigued she became – so much so that she was driven to investigate the tragic events of a century ago. Soon it was not just the murder that obsessed her but also the harsh existence of Artemio and his family, one that had continued unchanged since the middle ages and had none of the warmth and sophistication of the Florentine life she knew. Death in the Mountains is Lisa's brilliant recreation of the life and death of Artemio Bruni, and an evocation of the world of the Tuscan mountains in the early 20th century. It is both a murder mystery and a beautifully observed picture of a lost Italy. (less)

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  • Seller location: Hibiscus Coast, Auckland, NZ

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