JACKET NOTES: Anthropologist Penny Spring needs a holiday. So when her friends, the Reddiches, offer her their Roman villa while they vacation, she easily persuades her archaeologist colleague Sir Toby to come along. Not only is the villa situated on top of an unexcavated catacomb, but a honeymoon visit from Alex Spring and Toby's daughter Sonya is promised too.
Barely arrived, the duo's troubles begin. With no warning, the Reddiches' drunken, womanizing caretaker is brutally murdered. Odd noises and goings-on are reported from the adjacent villa Scorsi, where famous actress Margo Demerest is in residence while making a film. Then, following the disappearance of the Scorsi servant, Margo herself vanishes.
At this point, dangers escalate rapidly. Toby has just begun to explore the catacomb when there is a second murder and a kidnapping. As they frantically search for the victim, Penny and Toby en- counter not only assorted bureaucrats, movie people, and antiquarians, but also reputed Nazi war criminals, neo-Fascists, and terrorists. Events rush toward a furiously suspenseful climax on the eve of a momentous international conference, the Federation of European States.
(© The Countryman Press)