The final part of Lucarelli's De Luca trilogy jumps from the immediate end of the Second World War to 1948, with Italy preparing for elections amid fears of a communist takeover. How De Luca escaped the death penalty for his involvement with the fascists is not explained, at least not immediately, but he is now working in the vice squad in Bologna. [amtap book:isbn=1933372532]
When a man is found dead in a room above a brothel De Luca's bosses write the case off as suicide. De Luca, of course, knows better and ignores the order to drop the case. He's soon in the familiar position of being trapped between the political considerations of his superiors and his desire to see justice done.
Lucarelli rounds out De Luca's character nicely, making clear that the detective is apolitical and will align himself with whoever will help him close cases. It's equally obvious that this is no way to behave in post-war Italy. The police are not so much corrupt as simply political servants; if it's politically sensible to ignore a crime then that's what they'll do.
However, Lucarelli emphasised this theme in the previous books and the final one would have benefitted from something more. Though the mystery was interesting and the ending suitably bleak, I kept hoping for this book to break some new ground. As it is, it's an acceptable conclusion to the series but doesn't add much to what's gone before.