Dig in to a classic: Up at the Villa

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Written in 1941, Somerset Maugham’s Up at the Villa is a short (224 page) book set in Florence, Italy. A young widow, Mary is staying at the home of friends after her husband is killed in a car crash . The book examines the three men in Mary’s life: an older gentleman who has always admired her and proposes now that her husband is dead, a rich, but idle man her age who is a scamp but also wants to marry her, and a violinist she meets one evening while out dining with friends. The action of the story mostly occurs over the course of one evening.

Mary has told the older man she will give him an answer to his marriage proposal when he returns to town. Meanwhile, she goes out to a dinner party with friends and meets the unscrupulous man who flirts with her and advises her not to marry the older man. Mary brushes him off and returns home to the villa after supper. The violinist is waiting there and she takes pity on him. When she succumbs to him and then brushes him off, he kills himself in a passion and she is left with his corpse. How does she escape being accused of his murder? Will she decide to marry the older, respectable gentleman after all? Up at the Villa is also a 2020 film

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