Books: Let's Murder Father

A TALE FOR MIDNIGHT (354 pp.)—Frederic Prokosch—Little, Brown ($3.95).

Beautiful Beatrice Cenci, daughter of one of Rome's proudest 16th century families, had just taken her first lover. The scene: a heap of empty sacks in the wine cellar. The man: her father's steward. "Time passed. She heard the drops clicking rhythmically from a spigot. The smell of wine, the scent of burlap, the pungent scent of Olimpio—they wove a dark separate world, safe, secret, profound." How profound or how secret Beatrice's new world really was is something for historians to argue about. But safe it clearly was not. Less than two years...

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