Daneet Steffens
August 06, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Italian Fever

Current Status
In Season
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C

In the heart of the picturesque Tuscan countryside, a famous American writer meets his sudden demise in a most unromantic septic tank. His assistant, Lucy, arrives from New York to settle any outstanding affairs and finds herself caught in a romance-novel nightmare complete with haunted house, a sinister aristocratic family who may or may not be dabbling in Medici-style machinations (including the use of poison), and a smoldering Latin lover named Massimo. Unfortunately, Italian Fever quickly becomes more maudlin than mysterious, as Lucy — now going by ”Lucia” — swoons over the baroque intricacies of Bernini’s statues by day, drools over Massimo by night, and, like an educated Cosmo reader, pointedly doesn’t confuse sex with love, but secretly wants to. C

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