Leonard, Peter - 'All He Saw Was The Girl'
William McCabe and Charles Tallenger III, are American students studying at Loyola University in Rome, Italy and one night they both get drunk and steal a taxi-cab. They are both arrested and put in jail but Tallenger contacts his father, a multi-millionaire US Senator and they both get off the charge. This is reported in a Rome newspaper, but somehow their photographs get mixed up in the publishing. A few days later, McCabe is sitting outside a Rome cafe and he sees a very pretty girl go by. He follows her and chats her up and after they have walked quite away they get attacked by four gangsters. McCabe fights all four of them and almost succeeds until he is slugged from behind by one of them and loses consciousness. When he comes around, McCabe discovers that he has been kidnapped, as the gangsters believe he is the son of the multi-millionaire US Senator; they contact the US Senator and demand a ransom. Tallenger's son Charles or "Chip" as he's known, has gone to Sicily with his girlfriend for a few days but has not told anyone, so the Senator believes it is his son that has been kidnapped.
Additionally back in Detroit, Michigan USA, there is a woman called Sharon Vanelli, who is married to an agent in the American Secret Service and as he is away most of the time on assignment, she gets bored and falls in love with an Italian businessman who seems very charming. He doesn't tell her that he is a Mafia gangster but she has been without any male attention for so much time, his Latin charm gets her head-over-heels in love with him. He has to return to Italy and asks her to come and join her. Then Ray, her husband returns and is upset that his wife has gone to Italy and goes after her.
The little misunderstandings between the American way of life and that of the Italian, give this story a great charm and authenticity which made it very attractive. The story moves at quite a pace and at first I thought it was a bit too light compared, to the usual stories I read but I soon got caught up in the plot and forgot my misgivings and started to enjoy it very much, so much so that I read it in two days! The author is the son of Elmore Leonard, so he comes with a very good pedigree and this is his third novel. I enjoyed it very much and I'm sure you will also.
Terry Halligan, England