Calpurnia by Anne Scott

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Synopsis

An elegant debut novel about a once grand Philadelphia mansion called Calpurnia; its owner, a painter and pa-
trician matriarch who has recently died under mysterious circumstances; and the woman over-seeing the disposal of the estate, who unravels the secrets and intrigues hidden away in the hundred-year-old house.

Elizabeth Oliver arrives at Calpurnia to manage the sale but soon finds herself piecing together the mysterious life of Maribel Archibald Davies and her heirs: the prodigal, tennis-playing heir apparent; the fashionable niece,
designated as the estate’s executor; the loyal neighbor and keeper of the Maribel Davies flame; Davies’s heartbroken longtime lover; and the famous portraitist with whom Davies had an affair-become-scandal. Each of them makes one last visit to Calpurnia, and with each arrival, Elizabeth is drawn further into the family’s intrigues and mysteries, and closer to a revelation of its secrets.

Combining a contemporary sensibility with a rich, timeless gift for storytelling, Anne Scott has given us a classic, uniquely imagined tale of suspense.
 

About Anne Scott

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Anne Scott was born and raised in New York City. She has an M.A. in medical anthropology and has worked for the New York City Transit Police, the New York City Board of Education, and the New York City Partnership. This is her first novel.
 
Published August 12, 2003 by Knopf. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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in fact, Elizabeth’s reluctant contacts with louche art dealer Ellios, who once made a pass at her, leads to their secret discovery of Maribel’s cache of erotic drawings, supposedly the work of the fashionable portrait artist of the day, Lipscomb, once a lover of Maribel’s.

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Publishers Weekly

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Scott's debut novel unravels the tangled family secrets surrounding an ancestral Philadelphia manse and its deceased owner, Maribel Archibald Davies, the well-born painter and family matriarch who led a quasi-bohemian life (complete with free love and scandals, but minus the poverty).

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Book Reporter

The once grand Philadelphia mansion called Calpurnia is the setting for Anne Scott's first novel, CALPURNIA.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Calpurnia

Open Letters Monthly

Calpurnia see these efforts to mold her into marriage material as intrusive: “My time with Grandaddy slipped away as the domestic mill wheel gathered momentum, grinding its principal raw material – namely, me – into smaller and smaller scraps.” Kelly’s depiction of Margaret is a major distrac...

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