At the Villa Rose is the name of a very good blog, run by Xavier Lechard. It derives its name from my Forgotten Book for today, the 1910 mystery novel written by A.E.W. Mason, which I've just re-read after very many years. And the book is as enjoyable and thought-provoking as Xavier's blog.
I was first introduced to Mason, and his detective Inspector Hanaud, when I was a schoolboy. I used to borrow from the local library titles in a Hodder series, edited by Michael Gilbert, which reprinted classics of mystery and adventure. It was through this series that I first came across Anthony Berkeley's Trial and Error, and Raymond Postgate's Verdict of Twelve. Two masterpieces. In other words, Michael Gilbert had excellent taste, and was a man whose judgment could be trusted.
I can't recall now much of what Gilbert had to say about Mason, but I do remember that he admired The House of the Arrow very much, and although that is, I think, a better book than At the Villa Rose, both are of a high calibre. It's worth noting that At the Villa Rose was published in 1910, before the "Golden Age" got under way, but it boasts a great version of the Holmes-Watson pairing in Hanaud and Julius Ricardo, and a clever plot, with numerous neat touches, plus a classy, cosmopolitan setting.
Mason based the story on a real life murder case, but he injected imagination into the true crime scenario. Where he erred, I think, was in revealing the solution too soon. Too much of the latter part of the book is devoted to explanation. This was a structural weakness absent from The House of the Arrow. All the same, At the Villa Rose is great fun, and Hanaud a truly appealing example of "the Great Detective."