At that moment we heard quick footsteps echoing in another part of the villa, and a door at the far end of the gallery opened and a man, tall, dark-haired and long-nosed strode in and stopped abruptly at the sight of us. He was the most tall, handsome, saturnine and thrilling creature that I had ever seen in my life, but obviously, alas, I wasn't having the same startling effect on him, because he was staring at me with such a look of malevolence and cold fury that I took a nervous step backwards - of course on to James' toe but I had more on my mind than worrying about him.
The Renaissance prince - for that's what he looked like in spite of the superb Italian men's suiting - spat something at me in Italian. My jaw dropped even lower. I tried to take another step backwards only I couldn't because James was in the way.
From the unfinished manuscript THE MAN AT THE VILLA CARLOTTA. This manuscript is undated but was probably written in the early 1960s because of all the references to art and the fact that the heroine, Flora Hamilton, is older than Jane Shaw's previous heroines. Flora is going to work as a governess in Italy and is travelling on her own. She also has two possible love interests by the end of the first chapter, which would certainly not be the case in any story penned in the 1950s. It is a very promising story, but not without the usual flare for the ridiculous. An Italian woman that Flora befriends, a certain Signora Pacitti, is convinced that she has a genuine Bellini painting hanging on her wall. However, despite the fact that the painting has been featured in an English newspaper, the Signora is convinced that no one will ever try to steal it, even though other thefts in the neighbourhood having occurred recently. It's a real pity that this story was never finished because the characters and premise are very interesting.