In a style cribbed from Maigret and Colombo, Dibdin shows Aurelio Zen with a new girlfriend to pamper, a new case to niggle at, and some maddening Italian political intrigue to sort through.
The body had lain in a disused military tunnel in the Dolomites for 30 years when a trio of hikers found it, arousing the fears of the Ministry of Defense, the curiosity of the Ministry of the Interior, and a killing spree by secret intelligence honcho Alberto Guerrazzi, former head of the Medusa Operation. Representing the Interior, Zen is called in to identify the deceased and the reasons for his death. But his task is complicated when the carabinieri arrive and confiscate the corpse of Lt. Leonardo Ferrero, a Medusa operative and romancer of the seductive Claudia, wife of his commanding officer. All too quickly another Medusa man dies; yet another goes on the run; and Claudia leaps to her death rather than mentally revisit the deaths of her lover and her husband. Was Leonardo the victim of a fascist military plot to overthrow the government? Was he tortured by the extreme right, the extreme left, or a vengeful husband? And was that husband’s fatal fall down the stairs merely a tragic accident?
Dibdin, a champion assayer of politics and bedfellows (Blood Rain, 2000, etc.), herein masters the art of misdirection, leading the reader on a merry chase from villa to farm, from the gardens of Rome to the casinos of Switzerland.