A multiple pile-up on the autostrada into Parma... and the burned body of a woman found at the side of the road, with no apparent connection. Another case for Commissario Soneri.
Parma. A multiple pile-up occurs on the autostrada into the city. A truck transporting cattle skids off the road. Dozens of cows and bulls go on the rampage, injured and crazed. In the chaos, the burned body of a young woman is found at the side of the road. Her death has no apparent link to the carnage.
Commissario Soneri is assigned the case. It is a welcome distraction: his mercurial lover Angela has decided to pursue other options, leaving him even more morose than usual.
The dead woman is identified as Nina Iliescu, a Romanian immigrant whose beauty had enchanted a string of wealthy lovers. Temptress, muse, angel - she was all things to all men. Her murder conceals a crime and a sacrilege, and even in death she has a surprise waiting for Soneri.
Valerio Varesi has been the Parma correspondent for La Stampa and La Repubblica. River of Shadows was the first of a series of thrillers featuring Commissario Soneri, now the central figure of one of Italy's most popular television dramas. It was followed in English translation by The Dark Valley, Gold Frankincense and Dust and A Woman Much Missed.