A thoroughly unpalatable character is found murdered with a weapon so unspeakable that the police will not reveal what it is to the press. By an extraordinary web of circumstance suspicion falls on a scion of Turin's high society and his woman friend, much to the embarrassment of the local police. The investigator, a suave Sicilian, matches the subtlety of the charmingly snobbish suspects, for whom a man of his type is a beguiling novelty, as they are for him.
It would be a mistake to label this book a murder mystery. It is a marvelously rich novel with fully rounded, indeed, unforgettable characters, structured around a murder case. The visceral curiosity about “who done it” furnishes the suspense on the surface level. At the some time, however, the reader is constantly delighted by the wit and charm with which the two authors handle the inquiry. Two love stories, one escalating, the other disintegrating, are brought to beginning and end in the wake of the murder, generating their own suspense.
This may well be the most delightful and sophisticated entertainment of this and many seasons. A pair of remarkably acute Italian writers have written a joyful book around a grim happening, and in the process given us the portrait of an Italian city Turin and its society, high, low, and dubious. Here, at long last, is a true novel whose scenes and people have real, continuing life, a novel that one reads with avidity and hates to put down.