The Incident at Montebello

My novel, now available on

My new novel, now available on

Well, it’s happening.  My novel just came out this week as a Kindle e-book.

The news story I stumbled upon over a decade ago in the public library in Newton, Massachusetts has grown into a novel.   The tantalizing reports about the hit-and-run car accident in a remote town in Italy in 1930 captivated me and lingered in my thoughts.   The driver, Benito Mussolini (yes, the Italian dictator) and his passenger Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. (great great grandson of the famous millionaire) were touring the Italian countryside when Mussolini ran over and killed a little girl.  Mussolini, who never stopped the car, threatened Vanderbilt to keep quiet about it. Several months later, however, the story was leaked by an anti-Fascist group.  It hit the newspapers and it became an international scandal–with the anti-Fascists claiming the story was true, Mussolini denying it, and average Americans becoming shocked that the great Mussolini (who was a bit of a hero at the time) was capable of a hit-and-run and suppressing the story.

From those facts, I wove a story about the little girl who died and her family–her mother Lucia and her father Donato–and how this event tears them apart, but brings some of them unexpected happiness too.  I set the story in Montebello, an imaginary Italian hill town not far from Monte Vesuvio, very similar to the place where my grandfather was born, where the men wear tweed caps, smoke cigarettes and stroll the piazza, and the women go to church and pray for their husbands to come home.  Not long after the accident Elio Sardolini, a skinny Jewish anti-Fascist, is exiled to Montebello as punishment for his subversive activities (a common practice in Fascist Italy).  Working with local anti-Fascists, he helps to uncover the truth about the accident and, in the process, falls in love with Lucia.

Interested?   Here’s the link:

21 replies »

  1. I guest blog at the editors have just put the call out for more authors to interview and discuss their work/have it reviewed, when I finally get a break from study maybe I or one of the team can review it there for you – there are 4,000+ followers already so it should be a really useful promotional platform. I’m definitely very interested in yours already from the synopsis and you’re in my virtual list of books I want to read once I get the chance to just read for pleasure again!


    • Thanks so much! That is a great idea! I will look into giving a reading/book signing in Asheville, NC. If you know anyone there in the book store business, can you let me know? I’d guess I’d start there.


  2. Intriguing premise. Wonderful location. Provocative lives in provocative times. I cannot wait to read this.

    I have 5 weeks left in this semester. Once that is done, your book will be the first thing I do.

    Ciao! Grazie!


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