You're dressed for death when you're wearing a red dress, red pumps, and red lingerie -- especially if you're Leonardo Mascari, director of the Venice branch of the Bank of Verona, fatally beaten in the Venetian suburb of Mestre. The evidence suggests that Mascari is a member of Venice's sad community of transvestite prostitutes, but Commissario Guido Brunetti (Death in a Strange Country, 1993, etc.) doesn't believe the evidence. After discovering Giancarlo Santomauro of the Lega della MoralitÃ in the apartment of a male prostitute who recognizes Mascari's picture but says he doesn't, Brunetti realizes he's up against something considerably more sordid than a sex killing. He's soon on the track of a simple and nasty scheme involving tax fraud and a protection racket on a heroic scale. But knowing isn't proving, and as the crooks begin eliminating each other, Brunetti, already battling political pressures in his office, wonders if he'll ever be able to make a convincing case against any of the honorable men who are left standing when the blood has cleared. One of the most appealing of recent detectives, Brunetti stars in a case that brings out his canniness and his compassion -- and shows his creator spreading her wings more powerfully than ever.