When called in by the Vatican to assist in the matter of Prince Ludovico Ruspanti's fatal tumble from one of St. Peter's balconies, Aurelio Zen (Vendetta, 1991, etc.) of the Criminalpol, loyal to the church, agrees with their verdict of suicide--though an anonymous letter to the press soon suggests otherwise, citing the Church's surveillance of the prince, as well as an evil cabal within the order of the Knights of Malta. Zen draws reprimands but, despite several interviews and sets of instructions, is still unclear what the Church and his police superiors want him to do. Meanwhile, supposedly secret computer files reveal little, though a document hidden among medieval manuscripts in the Vatican archives leads to another murder, more suspicions, and a rendezvous in Milan--where all the plots, counterplots, coverups, etc., tempt Zen to blackmail so he can support his lover Tania in the manner she'd like. Still, all the crimes end as they began--with a fall from a dome. Superb study of secular and lay politics, but, like those bodies, all comes tumbling down to a bad end in the mundane--in fact, maudlin--motive for it all.