Achille Peroni loves the spicy food and passionate arguments of southern Italy, land of his birth. But fate - and the Italian police force - have stuck him in Verona, a city of bean soup and endless problems with the Red Brigades, a vicious gang that relies on bombs and high-profile kidnappings to further its rather fuzzy political aims. When a wealthy general, head of one of Italy's finest Fascist families, goes missing from his palatial estate, the Reds are the most obvious suspects. But Peroni finds himself considering a crime far more subtle and sinister than anything the Reds can dream up. A crime, in fact, the leads all the way back to Romeo and Juliet, the most famous Vernoseses of them all.