"Piero Chiara’s novel is at once a murder mystery and a lyrical study of desire, greed, and deception. The ending is simply stunning."—André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name
"A strong, well-written and weirdly seductive little novel about enjoying the small pleasures of life."—New York Times Book Review
Summer 1946. World War Two has just come to an end and there’s a yearning for renewal. A man in his thirties is sailing on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, hoping to put off the inevitable return to work. Dropping anchor in a small, fashionable port, he meets the enigmatic owner of a nearby villa who invites him home for dinner with his older wife and beautiful widowed sister-in-law. The sailor is intrigued by the elegant waterside mansion, staffed with servants and imbued with mystery, and stays in a guest room previously occupied by a now deceased bishop related to his host. The two men form an uneasy bond, recognizing in each other a shared taste for idling and erotic adventure. But tragedy puts an abrupt halt to their revels and shatters the tranquility of the villa. A sultry, stylish psychological thriller executed with supreme literary finesse.
"Like Tom Ripley and Dickie Greenleaf in [Patricia] Highsmith’s best-known novel, the central characters in 'The Bishop’s Bedroom' orbit one another like ballroom doppelgängers until it’s difficult to tell who is lying to whom or why ... This is a strong, well-written and weirdly seductive little novel about enjoying the small pleasures of life."
—New York Times Book Review
"Chiara’s engrossing novel of loafing lotharios in post-WWII Italy hums with suspense ... Readers will be swept away by this lush, gothic-tinged mystery and its unscrupulous characters."
"Chiara's brief masterwork turns insinuation into high art ... A first-rate book that is both a moody suspense novel and a haunting allegory."
—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Happily, this hypnotic novel, a mix of thriller and mood piece on the nature of sexual attraction, has finally been translated into English ... The sexual tension crackles ... The suspense is as palpable as the unmistakable echoes of Patricia Highsmith."
"For such a wicked and wanton novel, The Bishop's Bedroom is as tightly-controlled and queasily suspenseful as the best of Patricia Highsmith. It seduced me from its atmospheric opening pages to its shocking and satisfying final act."
—Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
"Piero Chiara’s novel is at once a murder mystery and a lyrical study of desire, greed, and deception. The ending is simply stunning."
—André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name
"Piero Chiara’s dark idyll of erotic entanglements in post-WWII Italy was a revelation to me: a character study of sinister power, a beautiful evocation of the dolce vita on Lake Maggiore, and an unnerving portrayal of the predatory sexual mores of another world that mirrors those of our own in the strangest, most unexpected ways."
—James Lasdun, author of The Fall Guy and Give Me Everything You Have
"Many try to write the seductive literary thriller set in romantic Italy, but it takes a real master like Piero Chiara to show how it’s done. The Bishop's Bedroom is sharp and sophisticated, a mystery with a keen awareness of the social forces that pull at its web. I didn’t want it to end."
—Christopher Bollen, author of A Beautiful Crime and Orient
"I consider myself to be the son of Piero Chiara ... I was his devoted reader. I've always loved storytellers and Chiara had great powers of seduction."
—Andrea Camilleri, author of The Shape of Water
"Sensual and melancholy in equal measure, The Bishop’s Bedroom is also a beautifully observed book."
"A poetic novel, stylishly structured and composed of tight perfectly judged prose ... never less than fascinating, engrossing ... The Bishop’s Bedroom is an act of prestidigitation, a sleight of hand, it’s riveting, entrancing and delicious but so mysterious, thrilling."
"Gem of late 20th century Italian literature ... Taking an indirect approach to the thriller genre, Chiara has created a softly seductive narrative filled with nearly as many subtle mysteries as a gothic novel ... The narrative also sparkles with a bemused, ironic and piquant humor."
“An author universally known in Italy, who has received several literary prizes … esteemed as one of the most talented of modern novelists.”
—World Literature Today
"It’s all very up-for-anything, postwar dolce vita ... You’ll fall under the book’s pleasurable, slightly sinister spell and find satisfaction."
"Suspenseful ... A compact novel that is rich in atmosphere. Chiara explores themes of greed, lust, and power and wraps them in a little murder mystery ... Engrossing."
—Historical Novels Review
"Just mentioning it will improve your status at your Zoom book club meeting. It’s a gem of a book ... Will enthrall and make you proud to be a reader of classic literary crime fiction."
—The Durango Telegraph
“One of Piero Chiara’s masterpieces.”
“An erotic charge is ready to explode at any moment … One of the greatest works of 20th century Italian literature.”