The Ionic coast on the sole of Italy's boot is the scene of this adventure into summery sinisterness. Despite its title, the story is rarely fearful or even bent on being chillful. Perhaps that's because the narrator is a not too well-focused lush who's twice divorced and whose syndicated column ""Travels with Curtis"" is only a mask for his troubleshooter duties with an international real estate cartel. When Curtis arrives at Porto d'Oro in Calabria, he pretends to be writing his usual innocuous travel puff but is really on the search for a thief who rifled a New York safedeposit box of a million Swiss francs and the chart to a treasure horde of Greek antiquities buried in vaults under the black castle beetling over the pleasure resort. He leches after a Mafia widow who has unknowingly inherited the property the castle sits on. A descent into the tombs of Ishtar is the climactic set-piece. Somehow you do read on (perhaps for the next drink -- or next lay) but it's all as instantly forgettable as a travel column.