Sicilian Mystery (e)

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      While his father pursues business concerns elsewhere in the Mediterranean, sixteen-year-old Neville Brown from England has a chance to explore the volcano on Stromboli, an Aeolian island north of the coast of Sicily. Neville, whose primary goal is to get some exciting photographs of the volcano for his school photography club, unexpectedly finds himself in the middle of a complicated smuggling plot. Young Giuseppe is also inadvertently pulled into the mystery after his father Alonzo Solderi, a local fisherman, is “lent” money to pay for a desperately needed surgery for his wife. In return, it seems that all that is expected of the two Solderis is to hunt turtles for an eccentric Englishman—a request made all the more strange because the turtle season is almost over.
     Neville, eager to see such hunting close up, accompanies Giuseppe and Alonzo on a day’s jaunt. What begins as a boring day on the water ends up with Giuseppe being knocked unconscious into the sea by a thrashing turtle and nearly drowning. The fight to save the boy brings on an attack of Alonzo’s recurring malaria—and it is at this point that the “favor” is called in by those who “lent” the money. Neville agrees to help Giuseppe, and from that moment the series of calamities that rain down on the two boys are as fiery and life-threatening as the volcanic fire and rock that pour down the Sciara de Fuoco (Stream of Fire) on the side of the Stromboli volcano!
     Once again, Arthur Catherall has produced an authentic and taut story set in a vivid locale of the 1960s—a tale wherein evil seems to have the upper hand, but in which the courage and ingenuity of its heroes must finally prevail.   

Original Book: 160 pages

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