Although he was promoted to the Criminalpol section of the Italian Ministry of the Interior after his (moderate) success with the Miletti kidnapping/murder (described in Ratking), Aurelio Zen isn't much better off. His mom is still living with him, his American divorcee girlfriend has gone back to the U.S., and most of his colleagues are wary of him. Vincenzo Fabri, a rival detective on the make, clearly wants him to fail (and may even be setting him up). Worse, someones tailing him in a stolen red Alfa Romeo, and someone's trying to break into his apartment.
Billionaire contractor Oscar Burolo was gunned down by a shotgun along with several guests to his huge villa on Sardinia, where the security system is like a fortress. Seedy political fixer Renato Favelloni, a go-between for Burolo and a prominent Italian politician, has been arrested for the murders, but Zen is sent to Sardinia to frame somebody else (the young man who takes care of the lions on the grounds and has been videotaped by Burolo having wild sex with the billionaire's wife) and get Favelloni cleared. Zen gets right off to a bad start when a video of the murders -- captured by the extensive security camera system in the villa -- is stolen from him after he's borrowed it to study.
Zen ships off to Sardinia, where the poor mountain village locals hate Italians, especially police and government officials. He'll have to break the case without irritating his superiors who intended something else, escape a killer he mistakenly put in jail 20 years ago based on a police informant's lying testimony, and deal with a jealous husband who is convinced Zen is having an affair with a younger female colleague! This 1991 thriller is the second in Dibdin's Aurelio Zen series.
This report prepared by David Loftus