"Brunetti is a marvel: smart, cultured, and dedicated to his work." --The Washington Post
Commissario Guido Brunetti longs to escape the crowds of tourists and oppressive heat of Venice in August. But before he can join his family on holiday in the mountains, a folder containing court records lands on his desk. An old friend suspects a sinister motive behind a local court's notorious inefficiency. Meanwhile, Brunetti's colleague, Inspector Lorenzo Vianello, is concerned about his aunt's sudden- and expensive-interest in astrology and enlists the commissario's help. Just when it seems Brunetti will be able to make his getaway, a brutal crime shocks the city and he forces himself to shake off the heat and get down to work.