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The setting, as usual, is the picturesque, non-metropolitan region of Vigata in Sicily. And it’s hot –stiflingly hot. In August Heat, we are never allowed to forget the all-enveloping sultriness (the inspector — possessor of miniature fan, the only one in the police station — sometimes cloisters himself in his office and strips naked to deal with the heat). At the beginning of the novel, Montalbano’s lover, Livia, has arranged for some friends to stay near them. But their guests’ irritating child disappears, and Montalbano undertakes a search. The house they are using yields no clues, despite being searched with a fine toothcomb. The mystery is total — is it an abduction? Has the child wandered away? Until, that is, Montalbano finds a tunnel in the ground outside — one that that takes him to a concealed layer of the house. He finds the child, unharmed, but there is another discovery waiting for him in the subterranean room: a trunk. Inside, wrapped in plastic, is the unclothed body of a girl — her throat has been slashed. The clues to her killer may lie with those responsible for the concealed floor.
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