In his seventh outing, Italian Criminalpol officer Aurelio Zen has finally been posted by his enemies in the government to the island of Sicily, heartland of the Mafia. His latest case is launched by the discovery of a badly decomposed and unidentifiable body locked in an abandoned rail car left on a spur of track in a deserted corner of the island.
Fortunately, Zen's daughter Carla Arduini, whom he met and adopted in his last adventure, _A Long Finish_, is also on the island to help the local judicial system set up a computer network, so he sees her often. Carla is befriended by Judge Corinna Nunziatella, whose life has been threatened for cracking down on the Mafia and who has to go everywhere under armed escort. On the other hand, Zen's mother is also dying back in Rome.
In retaliation for the train car killing, five Corleone family men are locked up in a stolen refrigerator truck to freeze to death. After a bomb kills the judge (and Carla with her), Zen crisscrosses Italy by train to hide, and eventually to Malta, to escape the clutches of the Sicilian police, who want to detain him as a suspect. Is there any way he can win, or maybe just survive, in the middle of this war between dying Mafia families?
This report prepared by David Loftus