He applied the Page 69 Test to his latest novel, The Fallen Angel, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Fallen Angel takes us to the opening of Chapter 16. An English academic has fallen to his death in strange circumstances in the Roman ghetto. Costa thinks there's more to the death than meets the eye, and has convinced his boss Falcone of this too. Falcone, a sly man, has reeled in a former acquaintance of theirs from book six, The Garden of Evil, Agata Graziano. Back then she was a nun though expert on art. Now she's trying to make her way as a teacher, outside the Church. She's not much impressed by the way Falcone keeps trying to tap her for advice.Learn more about the author and his work at David Hewson's website and blog.
Relationships are important in my books. The four principal police characters-- Costa, his colleague Peroni, the pathologist Teresa Lupo and Falcone -- are a family of a kind, deeply fond of one another, prone to disagreements. Agata is someone they all like and the others want to push her towards Costa as a girlfriend. At this point in the book we're in the middle of a meal. People often ask why eating appears in my books -- are they food porn? Not really. The English go out to eat. Italians go out to talk. If there's something to be discussed, pulled apart, analysed, then a dining table and some free and open conversation is the way to do it. And that's what's happening here. People are brainstorming if you like -- in ways that Agata finds disturbing.
So this is very representative of the book as a whole. It's decent ordinary people who love one another trying to work out why there's been a violent and incomprehensible tear in the fabric of the beautiful, lazy world of Rome one hot August.
Extract from page 69:
Agata was leaning against the wall, eyes closed, looking weary. A pretty young woman in her early thirties, doubtless worried about the job she'd start tomorrow, the first real employment she'd ever had. It was thoughtless of Falcone to invite her out, especially on dubious pretences. He'd clearly briefed Teresa fully before the meal, and was fishing for more information about Malise Gabriel and his background in the Confraternita delle Civette.
'It's stifling in there,' Costa said as he joined her.
'Why am I here?' she asked with a touch of anger. 'If you wish to have meals to discuss your cases, do so. But please tell Leo to leave me out of them. I saw enough of the world you live in two nights ago. I don't want to meet it again. Not for a long time.'
He glanced at the piazza, and the Cenci building opposite. 'It's still there, though. "And yet it moves."'
It was a very strange thing for someone to write on a bookmark.
Hewson is the author of the Nic Costa series of novels set primarily in contemporary Rome. A former journalist with the London Times and Sunday Times, his work has been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai ... and Italian.
The Page 69 Test: The Seventh Sacrament.
The Page 99 Test: The Garden of Evil.
My Book, The Movie: Dante's Numbers.
The Page 69 Test: City of Fear.
Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.