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Blog Post and Book Excerpt for "Signatures in Stone"

Book Title: Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery (2nd edition)

Author:  Linda Lappin

Publication Date: November 30, 2023

Publisher: Pleasure Boat Studio

Page Length: 290

Genre: Historical Mystery / Art History Mystery

Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery

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.




“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


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Author Bio:


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 (Pleasureboat 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.


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Book Excerpt:

About a hundred miles north of Rome, we turned inland to cross a marshland, then a succession of arid hills where broken bits of ancient Roman aqueducts stood stark against the twilight. Farther on, deep ravines gashed the terrain like unhealed fissures from which rose twisted masses of gray stone where ancient houses, domes, and grottoes were chiseled along the edges. Only a great turbulence from deep within the earth could have gouged out such chasms which appeared before us with hardly any warning as we rolled along. Flat meadows fell away into gorges where the road plunged, then laboriously wound up again. Thorny bushes scraped the sides of the car in narrow spots; jutting rocks thumped against the belly of the vehicle, causing Nigel great concern for his axel. God knows what would have happened if the car had broken down out there in the middle of nowhere. We might have been devoured by wolves, or by the ferocious white sheepdogs that pounced out of the brush to run alongside the car until their legs gave out, barking their heads off till we rounded the next curve.

Sometimes on a promontory we saw a cluster of houses, now all dark, or an isolated farmhouse with a yellow glimmer at the window or a curl of smoke above the chimney; sometimes a dilapidated church or hermitage nestled in a crevice along a cliff. The landscape was full of signatures, signs, and hidden meanings, I felt. An entire manuscript was displayed before my eyes, inviting me to decipher its alphabets, offering inspiration for the new novel I had come to Italy to write at Nigel’s forceful insistence.


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1 Comment

Thank you for hosting Linda Lappin today, with a snippet from Signatures in Stone.

Take care,

Cathie xo

The Coffee Pot Book Club

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