It is April 1964 and Florence is experiencing the first indications of spring. Inspector Bordelli is spending the evening in his office when Casimiro, an agitated dwarf is shown in. An old friend of Bordelli, Casimiro can barely contain himself whilst Bordelli goes through the pleasantries of offering cigarettes and beer. Eventually, he can tell Bordelli that he has come across a body on his way through an olive grove. Bordelli, who likes Casimiro, also feels sorry for him and often creates jobs for him so that money can be offered without embarrassment.
When a search of the olive grove reveals nothing, Bordelli agrees to Casimiro doing a little investigation into the villa at the edge of the grove. Within a few days Bordelli and his junior officer Piras are focused on catching a child murderer, one who leaves a peculiar signature, and he doesn't have time to give too much thought to Casimiro or the missing body.
Bordelli becomes frustrated at the lack of leads and at the slowness of the investigation into the child killer and as his mood blackens a missing Casimiro also plays on his mind but gradually things begin to come together. There are distractions of varying seriousness such as Piras's attraction to the girlfriend of a one-time suspect and Bordelli's interest in the particularly attractive female agent of a mysterious organisation called White Dove. This organisation punishes Nazis who escaped trial at Nuremberg and although it is nearly twenty years since the end of the war, the effects are still in evidence both through the actions of White Dove and Bordelli's reminiscences.
There is an interesting mix of characters both good and bad, with the heavy smoking Bordelli being particularly fascinating. With a love of food and drink, a fine sense of justice and a desire to help the underdog Bordelli is a likeable hero.
This second book in the series is a delight but a word of warning - with Bordelli frequently popping into restaurants and some delicious descriptions of the food, it is not a book to read on an empty stomach!