Castagnetti, a bee-keeping private detective, is hired by a businessman to find out who set fire to his car and why. It seems like a dead-end case, nothing more than an instance of mindless vandalism. But before long the businessman is receiving threatening phone calls, his factory is burnt to the ground and an employee loses his life.
Castagnetti traces similar cases of arson across the city and realises that this sort of systematic intimidation happens when the owner's land is about to be redesignated as residential.
The last person to stand in the developers' way was whacked in Milan a year ago. Castagnetti needs to solve the case before his client, and his city, are both buried in cement.
Tobias Jones studied at Jesus College, Oxford. He was on the staff of the London Review of Books and the Independent on Sunday before moving to Parma in 1999. Since the publication of The Dark Heart of Italy he has written and presented documentaries for BBC Television and Radio and for RAI 3. He is a regular contributor for the British and Italian press and is a columnist for Internazionale. His second book, Utopian Dreams, was published in 2007. The Salati Case - the first in a series of crime novels set in Italy - was published in 2009.