A collection of twelve stories set in Venice and nearby islands. Each tale involves a different crime, and factual information about the city and its history are woven into every plot. The main character, Pio Scampi, is a Carabinieri officer who spends most of his time thinking about food. He is generally assigned the more difficult or strange cases, and his team of detectives do most of the legwork, usually based on circuitous questions he raises about the crime under investigation. The detection techniques employed are more psychological than scientific and the crimes themselves reflect the specific character of the city and its inhabitants.