I was busy during December, as, it is to be hoped, most retailers are. There wasn't much time for reading. How ironic!
After Christmas, I did read one non-mystery by an author who has written several mysteries/suspense books, Jess Walters ("Over Tumbled Graves," "Citizen Vince"). His "Beautiful Ruins" was fabulous. One of the storylines takes place in Italy during the shooting of the infamous "Cleopatra." As a matter of fact, Richard Burton makes an appearance in the story as a rascally, egotistical bastard. But the story really isn't about him. It's a romantic and very human story about an improbable meeting of the young owner of a hotel on the Italian coast's most inaccessible and forbidding spot and a young American woman who has come to the hotel to ponder her recent diagnosis of a terminal disease.
Perfect writing, perfect dialogue, perfect story.