Detective Max Cámara is under pressure.
A renowned paella chef has been found dead; the town hall are set on demolishing El Cabanyal, the colourful fisherman's quarter on Valencia's sea-front; an abortionist has been kidnapped and with the Pope due to visit the city, the police are summoned to offer protection from crowds of the faithful and the danger of anti-religionists alike.
When one of Cámara's long term adversaries is put in charge of the missing abortionist case, tensions are quickly running high, and with ominous cracks spreading across the walls of his flat, Cámara soon has nowhere to turn.
Tight plotting, rich atmospherics, and an engagingly flawed lead distinguish Webster's second contemporary mystery set in Valencia, Spain (after 2011's Or the Bull Kills You). A week after popular paella chef Pep Roures disappears, Chief Insp. Max C mara, of the National Police, helps fish the chef's body out of the water off the port city. The autopsy reveals that Roures drowned after being stabbed in the kidney from behind. Roures was generally admired for his culinary artistry, but he was a vocal opponent of the local government's plan for redevelopment of the area where his restaurant was located. As C mara's inquiries are just getting underway, he suffers a disruptive personal tragedy that forces him to shift his focus. He soon has an abduction to factor in as well as security precautions for the impending visit of the pope. The undercurrent of melancholy, as C mara finds himself in conflict with the powers-that-be, sets this apart from the usual southern European procedural/whodunit.