From the jacket:
A missing wallet...the suicide of a local journalist...a notorious pickpocket found murdered with his tounge cut out...
It is twenties Vienna, a city crippled by inflation, poverty and petty crime, and one so numbed to the frequency of suicide and murder that it takes the chance involvement of Inspektor Dovisch to prevent the day's third murder from becoming just another statistic in police files.
But Dobisch is involved against the advice of his superiors, who warn him off, reduce his manpower, increase his workload, and obstruct the investigation at every turn. As Dobisch digs deeper, all the indications are of corruption at the senior level, in the police force, government and in the business community, threatening the political stability of the country.
Against the backdrop of Vienna's tarnished splendour, the drama is played out between a remouseless financial empire that penetrates every level of Austrian society and Dobisch, whose attempt to avery national catastrophe leads him through a tangled web of treachery and deceit.