The Etruscan Smile: A Novel of Suspense Hardcover – April 1, 1977 by Velda Johnston (Author)
The Etruscan underworld goddess held the wheat-symbol of life in one hand, and in the other, the sacrificial knife. To Samantha Develin, the ancient figure seemed sinister, and not just because of the chill, enigmatic smile on its bronze lips. The recently discovered statue, Samantha suspected, was connected in some way with her sister's disappearance two months ago. It was in search of her beautiful artist sister that Samantha had flown from New York to Italy. There she took up residence in the centuries-old farmhouse which Althea had been renting for the past several years. Almost immediately, Samantha found that the neighboring people, including an attractive young English archaeologist, seemed anxious for her to leave. What was more, she was sure the Englishman lied when he disclaimed any knowledge of where Althea might be. Then she awakened one night just in time to put out a mysteriously kindled fire that might have destroyed both her and the farmhouse. Someone was determined that she should not find out what had happened to Althea. Although she was tempted to flee back to her Manhattan apartment, Samantha persisted in her search for the reckless, warm-hearted sister she had always adored--a search that would lead her to strange people and reveal disturbing secrets in Althea's life. Here, set in the lovely Tuscan countryside around Florence, is a dramatic story of love and murder and of a long hidden evil.