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AUTHOR AUDITING 'MONSTER OF FLORENCE' TRIAL

In search of truth that is stranger than fiction, American novelist Thomas Harris -- author of the best-selling novel "Silence of the Lambs" -- is studying the trial of a suspected serial killer in Italy.

Harris said he was fascinated by the trial of the man alleged to be the "Monster of Florence."

"This is a beautiful criminology case and the story is interesting, very interesting," Harris told La Repubblica newspaper Wednesday.

Harris is attending the trial of Pietro Pacciani, a 69-year-old farm laborer who denies charges of 16 murders between 1968 and 1985 in lonely hills around Florence.

The trial began on Tuesday and is expected to last 10 weeks.

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