Niki Ladányi, the young investigative journalist has a cold-blooded criminal to thank for the biggest story of her life. She might have managed to put him behind bars, but Verbovszky hasn’t forgotten her: after he escapes from jail, he heads out to get his revenge. Meanwhile, Niki is hot on a new trail, investigating a story in Naples about dogs smuggled out of Hungary, for possibly something other than their pedigree. Niki takes along her mother, who reunites with an old flame from her youth, Alessandro. The unfinished business between Niki’s mother and the former tailor – who has since become a successful name of Italian Haute Couture – sparks more than just a yearning for the past. Alessandro’s son, Giacomo, also feels increasingly attached to Niki, but the criminal on her trail and Niki’s complicated love affair with Andras, a detective back in Budapest, combined with the intricacies of her grandmother’s dangerous new job, all come together, causing a twist in Niki’s vacation in Naples… perhaps changing the lives of two families forever.
Is it possible to rekindle a relationship after thirty years? Can love be passed down from mother to daughter? Can a son make a decision for his father when a business and a family are at stake? Can a detective still insist on doing the right thing if his actions endanger himself and the people he loves?
Love and career, revenge and forgiveness, tradition and renewal; three generations, two families, a decision for life: all this in Eva Fejos’s best novel yet. Come along on her Vacation in Naples.
The next painting was carried out. It was a lovely oil painting from the Nagybánya Art Colony period, representing a breezy garden with yellow parasols and women lounging in garden chairs. The upset price was 850,000. Niki thought she was hallucinating: her grandmother was bidding again, though there was only one other person bidding against her for the painting. But the most staggering moment came when the gavel came down at her final bid. Her grandmother had bought the painting. For 1,100,00 forints! Niki had barely recovered from the shock when a few minutes later her grandmother was the only one bidding for a painting again. Another one million.
“Where in the world did she get all that money? And what’s this bidding spree?” Niki whispered in distress to Zoli.
“I don’t know. Let’s keep watching and we might find out. But I think I have a hunch…” the boy answered.
Gran got heavily into the bidding. She bid on about ten paintings in an hour and bought four.
“I have to stop her,” Niki said to Zoli. She felt the cold sweat trickling down her back. “She really does need someone to adopt her. I can’t imagine she has any money. She’s just horsing around.”
“She’s right up there signing the papers. She must be paying with a credit card.”
“No way. My grandmother’s never even owned an ATM card.”
“I’m calling my mother. No. I’d better call a psychiatrist instead and get Gran committed. I’ll call one of my experts.”
“Take it easy already.”
“There’s no way I can take it easy,” Niki whispered angrily, while she was watching her grandmother lift the paddle again and start bidding. This time it was some bizarre abstract painting of all things! “She was out shooting on the streets yesterday, today she’s spending millions which she’s kept a secret from the family. If she even has any money at all…”
“Relax,” Zoli said, shaking her arm. “She’s just a dummy bidder.”
“The auctioneer hires a couple of people like her. Telephone bidders and dummy bidders, who bid on an apparently random selection of works… they’re just dummy bidders. That’s what they’re paid for. They rack up the prices on some paintings.”
“But what if the hammer comes down on their bid? What happens if a genuine buyer makes a bid and the painting still goes to the dummy bidder, because it’s not worth the amount to the real buyer?”
“That can mean several things. One: the auctioneer messed up. But probably not. Two: the dummy bidder’s catalog is marked up with the lowest amount a painting can sell for. In such instances, they’re the ones who make a bid.”
“And then a painting goes back to the auction house?”
“Paintings are usually submitted in consignment. It’s pretty harsh, but some auction houses charge the consignor a fee even if the painting isn’t sold. The price might range between fifty to five-hundred-thousand for cleaning, re-framing, and restoration. And they’ll only return the painting to the consignor if this fee is paid, causing the value of the painting to decrease, because works that aren’t sold at an auction usually can’t be sold again for years after. The catalog retains the evidence that it was put up for auction before, and anyone can check the past of a piece of art. But the auction house makes a profit, whether it’s actually sold or not.”
“Does it really cost that much to restore paintings?”
“Sometimes, but usually not. But the consignor will never know the difference.”
“Shit. And my grandmother’s an accomplice in this scam?”
“Well, that’s certainly what it looks like.”
“This is a conspiracy.”
“Don’t exaggerate. You should be happy that your grandmother’s only in it as a dummy bidder.”
Niki took out her muted phone.
My grandmother is a criminal. I have proof. You have to arrest her. Pick me up and we’ll catch her as she leaves.
She wrote down the address and sent the text to András. While her phone was muted, both András and Fanni had called. She quickly texted Fanni that she’d call later. Then, a little less angrily, but still with a twinge of disbelief, she watched as her grandmother bid on several more paintings, of which she bought two.
“I believe that each novel has its own destiny and that when the time comes, it will be fulfilled” – Eva Fejos (author of Vacation in Naples)
- Eva Fejos is a Hungarian writer and journalist.
- has had 18 best-selling novels published in Hungary so far.
- Vacation in Naples is her 15th best-seller, published in 2013.
- has won several awards as a journalist, and thanks to one of her articles, the legislation pertaining to human egg donation was modified, allowing couples in need to acquire donor eggs more easily.
- spends her winters in Bangkok.
- likes novels that have several storylines running parallel.
- visited all the places she’s written about.
- spent a few days at an elephant orphanage in Thailand; and has investigated the process of how Thai children are put up for adoption while visiting several orphanages.
- founded her own publishing company in Hungary in 2013, where she not only publishes her own books, but foreign books too, hand-picked by her.
- Her books published in Hungary thus far are:
Holtodiglan (Till Death Do Us Part)
Eper reggelire (Strawberries for Breakfast)
A mexikói (The Mexican)
Helló, London (Hello, London)
Karácsony New Yorkban (Christmas in New York)
Karibi nyár (Caribbean Summer)
Szeretlek, Bangkok (Bangkok, I Love You)
Most kezdődik (Starting Now – the new edition of Till Death Do Us Part)
Nápolyi vakáció (Vacation in Naples – the English version)
Száz éjjel vártam (I Waited One Hundred Nights)
Mert nekünk szeretnünk kell egymást (We Must Love Each Other)
November lánya (November’s Daughter)
You can download Vacation in Naples (English version) from Amazon:
You can find the author here:
Facebook 2 (English):
Author’s website: www.fejoseva.com/about-me/
Eva’s publishing house (Erawan Publishing): http://erawan.hu