A beautiful teenage girl, Simona Biondi, has gone missing from her home in the Italian capital. Castagnetti, the private detective hired by her parents, trawls the streets of Rome, finding himself drawn into the dark, erotic world of a TV empire belonging to a media mogul turned politician called Mario Di Angelo. He unearths a murky world in which nubile young women, desperate for stardom, are prepared to do anything to get a break; in which powerful men are happy to exploit that desperation in order to make money and make love. Castagnetti discovers that Anna Sartori, a young woman on the fringes of the Di Angelo empire, went missing almost twenty years ago. Anna Sartori's best friend, he finds out, was Simona's sister. This is a world, Castagnetti realises, where secrets are like fireworks: you don't see them until they explode.