I have always wanted to tell stories. I have written short radio plays and had a number of short stories published in books and magazines, but Adieu, Sweet Amarillis is my first novel.
Myth and mystery surround the short life of Roland Fredricks, a virtuoso violinist and composer who died suddenly in 1941. What was the cause of his death? Was he a budding genius cut off in his prime? The music of his final years showed unexpected brilliance. Or was he a rake and a libertine, corrupting the young with dangerous left-wing ideas down at Millwater, his country house in Kent?
In 1992 the centenary of the composer’s birth is approaching and Jonathan Burroughs has the task of researching a biography: of sifting fact from salacious gossip and rumour. During the war records have gone missing. Many of those who knew Fredricks are dead. His daughter Gudrun, loathes him. His former mistress, opera singer Paula Pignatelli, now 90, lives alone in her impregnable Italian palazzo listening to her old recording and seeing no one. But Anna Cummins, who as a music student in the 1930s had a bitter-sweet affair with Fredricks, is writing her memoirs. Jonathan contrives to meet her and through her, her granddaughter Ros. A love affair develops between Ros and Jonathan that echoes that between Anna and Fredricks 50 years earlier. Gradually the truth behind the Fredricks legend is revealed.