Commissario Soneri returns home for a hard-earned autumn holiday, hoping to spend a few days mushroom picking on the slopes of Montelupo. This isolated village relies on the salame factory founded in the post-war years by Palmiro Rodolfi, and now run by his son, Paride.
On arrival, Soneri is greeted by anxious rumours about the factory's solvency and the younger Rodolfi's whereabouts. Not long afterwards, a decomposing body is found in the woods. In the shadow of Montelupo, carabinieri prepare to apprehend their chief suspect - an ageing woodsman who defended the same mountains from S.S. commandos during the war.
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.