Picks and Pans Review: The House of Gucci

updated 09/18/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/18/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour and Greed
by Sara Gay Forden

In this richly detailed biography of the Gucci family, Forden, WWD's former Milan bureau chief, chronicles how a small Florentine luggage company founded 80 years ago survived bitter infighting, mismanagement and takeover battles to prevail as one of the premier names in fashion. The most riveting chapters reconstruct ex-chairman Maurizio Gucci's murder, for which his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiano and her psychic, among others, were convicted in 1998. Gucci depicts a couple driven by greed and jealousy. Maurizio changed the locks to their Saint Moritz estate without her knowledge. Patrizia took money for daughter Alessandra's deb party and spent it on plastic surgery. While Forden bogs readers down with financial minutiae, she sprinkles in enough fiendishly appalling bits to make this a tantalizing read. (Morrow, $26)

Bottom Line: Good Gucci goo

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