If in this frozen tundra you find yourself craving summer, look no further than Jess Walter’s latest novel, Beautiful Ruins. A beautiful blonde actress, Dee Moray, working on the set of ‘Cleopatra,’ arrives mysteriously upon a small village on the Italian coast. A man helps her out of the boat and then disappears.
In that instant, Pasquale Tursi falls in love. He is the proprietor of a small inn, the Hotel Adequate View, in a sleepy fishing village. The novel divides itself between the story of Dee and Pasquale’s encounter in the early 1960s and 50 years later, in the age of reality TV and questionable morals.
After the death of his wife, Pasquale sets out in search of Dee. He turns to now legendary producer Michael Deane for help. For it was Deane who worked on ‘Cleopatra’ and helped Dee out of the boat that day. Influenced perhaps by guilt, Deane agrees to help track Dee down.
This is not just another book about the magic of old Hollywood and the sad state of the film industry nowadays. But until the warm weather comes around, it is certainly a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon.
Available from Harper Collins, $12.00