Naples, 1913. Sun-baked, blue-skied, and with its amazing bay it is one of the most beautiful spots in Italy. But it's also one of the most corrupt. A new arrival here is a junior British official, Scampion, who has already been banished from Florence. Scampion, however, brings with him a new craze that is sweeping Italy: bicycling.
But one day as he walks home after a bicycle race, he is stabbed to death. That happens all the time in Naples, but remarkably his wallet was not taken. Could Scampion's murder have something to do with the race? Bicycling may seem a harmless pursuit, but Neapolitans are great gamblers. And soon Seymour, our man from the FO, is sent out to investigate.