Despite his personal problems, melancholy private investigator Sandro Cellini is determined to ferret out a cunning killer who hides in plain sight among the rich and famous.
Castle Orfeo, built in the 15th century and overlooking the city of Florence, currently attracts artists from all over the world as an idyllic retreat. Though its director, Loni Meadows, has the face of a Madonna, she runs the castle with an iron hand, earning the enmity of virtually all the staff—senior assistants Luca and Mauro, veteran cook Ginevra and her niece Nicki, maid Anna-Maria and even Cate Giottone (from whose perspective readers see much of the novel), the newest member of the staff and the only one who lives offsite. Little aware of these dynamics, P.I. Sandro Cellini (The Drowning River, 2010, etc.) has been hired to shadow teenager Carlotta Bellagamba, whose parents fear that she's getting into drugs. Recently dismissed from the police force and perpetually insecure about his relationship with his wife Luisa, he reflects as often on his love life as on the details of his assignment. On the same day that Carlotta fails to come home from school, Loni goes missing from Castle Orfeo. The crossing paths of searchers bring Sandro into the Castle's unique society. Carlotta returns, Loni does not. After a few days, her body is found in a river, and Sandro finds himself at the center of a tantalizing murder puzzle.
Sandro's third case is a murky psychological thriller packed with complex, secretive characters and lush prose to match.