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The Goldini Bath

Novella (20,550 words)

first US first uniform
First edition 1958 US first edition 1959 Uniform edition 1972

Published as one part of the collection Young man on a bicycle, Hodder and Stoughton, 1958. Published in the USA as part of Oasis Nine; four short novels, New York, W. Sloane Association, 1959. The other novellas in the collection were Young Man on a Bicycle, Oasis Nine, and Adriatic Crossing.


John Mallet is a young engineer employed by a Canadian tycoon. He has been sent to the (fictional) village of Roccasparta in Umbria to pay for an antique bath bought by his employer and bring it back on a lorry. En route he meets a pretty girl and gives her a lift in his lorry, but she demands to be put down as soon as she knows why he has come.

In the village he is a pariah, though the parish priest ensures he is at least given a room in the inn. He meets the count, an eccentric man intent on emigrating to New Zealand to set up a chicken farm, for which the only way to raise the capital is to sell the bath, a famous antique for which the village is famous. The villagers know that if it goes they will lose all tourist trade. John inspects the bath and finds the pretty girl, who turns out to be the Count's daughter Gabriella, using it. She is completely against its being sold. Her unconventional solution and the deviousmess of some villains provide several further plot twists before the bath can be saved and the hero and heroine fall in love.

Part of Victor Canning's war service in 1944 to '46 was spent in Italy, and he set a number of books and short stories there, writing of the country with great affection.


Serialised in Everybody’s, 6, 13, 20 and 27 October 1956, and in the Toronto Star Weekly, 27 January 1957.