Inspector Javier Falcon returns after The Blind Man of Seville, ready to solve what is apparently a shocking murder/suicide in the upper-class Santa Clara in Lisbon. Falcon returns to his investigative métier, not quite recovered from the trauma of his past case, his emotional wounds still vulnerable. A thorough investigator and an honest man with an incisive mind, experience has taught Falcon about the subtleties of human nature, the public versus the private face of behavior.
When Rafael Vega is found dead on the floor of his luxurious home in Santa Clara, his wife is also discovered, dead upstairs in her bedroom. Is the crime scene that of a simple murder/suicide or cleverly disguised as one? The neighborhood is quiet, reclusive even, private estates made comfortable by air conditioning while the rest of the city swelters in the vise of summer heat. Everyone has an opinion, but no one has seen anything that can advance the Inspector's investigation. One of the neighbors is Consuela Jiminez, an attractive woman from Javier’s previous case; he is not unappreciative of the lady’s charms, in spite of the tragic circumstances of her widowhood.
In this cast of diverse characters, most are deeply flawed, existing in a rarified atmosphere that gives them privacy and distance from any distasteful episodes of the past. In a complex mix of murder, wealth and sex, the plot is rife with ambiguous clues and the potential for imminent violence. As Falcon moves closer to resolving the original murder/suicide, other unexpected deaths complicate the investigation.
Choreographing each detail with his inimitable style, Robert Wilson manipulates a complicated plot, drawing on a variety of individuals: an actor whose son has been jailed for kidnapping and molestation; a photographer/voyeur/seductress with a penchant for peeping; clandestine activities of the CIA and the tentacles of the Russian mob. As more “apparent suicides” occur, Falcon strips away layer after layer, revealing a potential for scandal and depravity that may lead to important persons, who expect to remain out of the public eye.
With elegant storytelling, lush detail, sensuous women, rough-hewn men and an abundance of lies, Falcon returns with a vengeance, a little more tattered psychologically but ever the intrepid investigator, consumed by curiosity, unruffled by reality and with an astute eye for the untoward event. His capacity for compassion renders Falcon a beloved figure in a world often gone mad under the weight of its own compulsions.