Monday, 9 August 2010
The Flight of the Falcon by Daphne Du Maurier
This was my third Daphne Du Maurier novel which I am reading as part of the Daphne Du Maurier challenge. The Flight of the Falcon differs from the two previous Du Maurier novels I have read (Rebecca and Jamaica Inn) as this was published not in the 30s but in the 60s and is set in Italy as opposed to Cornwall where most of her stories are set.
The main character is called Armino Fabbio who works as a coach tour guide for American and British tourists. Fabbio is working in Rome when the novel starts and is run ragged by the timetable and the demands of his tourists. The first couple of chapters are actually quite comical as we meet the American lady who seems to think Fabbio cares about the impending birth of her grandchild, the two busy body English school teachers who makes the tour late one day because they were trying to find the owner of a stray cat, to the hopeless woman who cannot leave a hotel room or restaurant without leaving something behind.
However by chapter three a body of an old beggar woman (who Fabbio recognises) is found stabbed and the novel takes a sudden turn. Fabbio leaves Rome and returns to the city of his childhood; a dark, forbidding place. There he meets his long lost brother who isn't quite what he seems transporting the reader into more familiar Du Maurier territory.
The descriptions of the Italian city Fabbio returns to are superb, the dark narrow streets with their steep and perilous steps are all used to good effect to hide secrets and even a secret society. There was also familiarity in the two brothers Fabbio and Aldo. Fabbio is described as being short and he is also strangely sexless throughout which contracts to his older brother Aldo who towers over his younger brother and is obviously having sordid affairs. The more submissive personality of Fabbio compared with his dynamic, unscrupulous brother did put me in mind of Rebecca slightly.
Unfortunately there were plot elements which I couldn't quite believe and this book is about 50 pages too long so it began to drag during the final third part of the book. But as usual there was a good story with some interesting characters and some good twists and turns.
Would I recommend this? Not as your first Du Maurier read, no. However if you have already read Jamaica Inn and Rebecca this one makes a welcome change.
Posted by Jess