Single art teacher Marion Hardcastle is rather regretting having agreed to come on holiday with Tom and Janice Cowlishaw. They aren't exactly kindred spirits. And they aren't exactly being made to feel welcome by the supercilious owner of the Palazzo Fratorelli. The Contessa seems to be much more interested in ingratiating herself with her other guests, famous theatre director Terence Armstrong, and film stars, Christopher Bassett and Beatrice Miller-Mander. But, in the warmth of the Italian sunshine, the guests at the Palazzo gradually start to throw off their traditional British reserve - and so begins an extraordinary week of drama, danger, passion, violence, tears, tantrums, sordid secrets - and unexpected romance. Even Marion thaws enough to start enjoying herself. And, who knows, perhaps even fall in love . . .