When Gina Donovan arrives in Florence on a beautiful spring morning to stay with an old friend, she hopes for nothing more than a break from her demanding young family. But as she soon finds out, this most ancient and beautiful of cities has its dark side.
The highlight of the expatriate calendar in Florence is the birthday party of Frances Richardson, long-time resident of the Oltrarno. Within hours of her arrival, a rejuvenated Gina finds herself invited to Frances's party, to be held this year in a friend's picturesque gardens beneath the city's medieval wall in San Niccolo.
As Gina's week in Florence unfolds and the party draws near, a terrible discovery is made. And no one in this close-knit community of locals and exiles, from the aristocrats and the antique-dealers to the cafe-owners and pimps, is free from suspicion . . .