THE FLORENTINE WIN by Harriet La Barre


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A damsel distressed in Florence, from travel-cum-mystery writer La Barre (the mass-market Stranger in Vienna). Leisurely, but then why hurry through a tour of Italy? Stranded, with little money and no job prospects, American Johanna March meets keen sports-fan Luciano Botto over dinner at the Pensione Boldini. She inadvertently pockets his winning soccer-pool ticket, but he's pushed off a ponte and drowned before she notices it. A wild spending spree later (Gucci, Pucci, Porsche), the problems compound: Signor Botto was an alias, insist the police, while a stationery shop identifies him as Signor Cardarelli, and a handsome kitchen-salesman, Jeff Thorne, believes him to be his old school chum Alessandro Faziolini, of the ultrarich Faziolinis, owners of posh villa ""La Serena."" The unravelling unearths a missing ruby ring; a badly hemmed wedding gown; a crib death; children at horrific play; a kidnapping; business trips that were never taken, as well as a mistress and love child; a stricken family patriarch; a gun-toting neighbor; a demented poetess, and a family friend who turns out to be the family enemy. Plus: Lucilla's birthday party is mined, Vittorio is shattered, and Alessandro is finally laid to rest, while Johanna, hanging on to those soccer-pool millions, drives off into the sunset with Jeff. Standard soapy fare in a nice setting.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1988
Publisher: Walker