Still in Prelude
Inside the Edge of War
In early January 1936, Westly Giovanni-Blair, a Parson’s educated tailor and owner of a men and women’s fashion shop in New Haven, meets Seattle-born Georgetown law professor Richard Bartlett Burton, in a picturesque trattoria on the wave-dashed coast of Fascist controlled Italy. Each is on a personal quest: Can Westly discern in Wales, then Italy the truth behind the missing 18th century portrait that may reveal her family’s ancestral roots? Will she ever find the artist’s family, her family, as her Italian immigrant grandmother implored? Barr has his own imperatives: Who was it that ordered the assassination of his father near his family home in Seattle? Who is trying to stop his appointment by President Roosevelt to a high government position? And get him dismissed from the Georgetown faculty?
Westly and Barr agree to an uneasy partnership that takes them from coast to coast in America and across the Atlantic, a collaboration that requires quick wit, skillful sleuthing, and unexpected daring. Horrific death follows in their wake. Together they survive assassination attempts. The Spanish Civil War looms and intrudes into their lives as friends leave to join the Republican forces in a fight against General Franco that is sure to come. Powerful American industrial interests and the Catholic Church take sides.
Is Barr related to the famed British explorer, Sir Richard Francis Burton?—The question that brought him to Italy where Burton once lived, and draws him—and Westly—into the Civil War’s impending terror. Neither anticipates the scheme they unwittingly uncover. Westly goes to Paris to seek answers. Alone. Her life at risk.
Photo credits: Eiffel Tower (SunglassesRock, inverse image); Mussolini(Wikipedia); Mussolini and Hitler (Galleryship and Wikipedia); Grotesque (Old Wolf)