"I really need to find this place," she told him. "It's near the Palazzo Malaspina, I know. But I was never very good at directions. I've only been there at night. I . . ."
For a moment he feared she was about to burst into tears. Then he corrected himself. She was simply absorbed, in what he could not begin to imagine.
Caviglia smiled, then reached over her to press the bell. A cloud of rich, somewhat cloying perfume rose from her body. French, he thought again.
"The next stop, signora, if you are willing to walk. I will show you where to go. I have to get off myself in any case."
She nodded and said nothing. When the bus finally came to a halt, Caviglia put a protective arm around her and pushed through the milling mob to exit by the front doors, as a local would, in spite of the rules, saying loudly as he forced his way forward, "Permesso. Permesso! PERMESSO!"
He waited for her to alight from the bus, his hands behind his back. Out in the brief bright light of this December day, she seemed even more frail and thin.
"It's ten minutes on foot," Caviglia said. He pointed across the road. "In that direction. There are no buses. Perhaps I can find you a taxi."
"I can walk," she said instantly.
"Can you find your way to the Piazza Navona from here?"
She nodded and looked a little offended. "Of course!"
"Go to the end," he instructed. "Then turn right through the Piazza Agostino for the Via della Scrofa. Turn right again at the Piazza Firenze and you will find the Vicolo del Divino Amore on your left along the Via dei Prefetti."
"You are entering an interesting part of my city. Many famous artists lived there. It was once part of the area called 'Ortaccio.' "
She looked puzzled. "My Italian is bad. I don't know that word."
Caviglia cursed his stupidity for mentioning this fact. Sometimes he spoke too much for his own good.
Excerpted from The Garden of Evil by David Hewson Copyright © 2008 by David Hewson. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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