* The book starts in a small town in Sicily with a bus about to leave for Palermo.
* A man attempts to get on the bus, but is shot before he is able to.
* All of the bus passengers disappear and the driver is stunned that this has happened.
* Police begin looking for witnesses but find that everyone they speak to doesn't remember anything.
* The dead man is identified as Salvatore Colasberna, a local bricklayer who owns the Santa Fara Co-op Society.
* The police bring in Salvatore's brothers for questioning and reveal they have five anonymous letters with differing accounts of why Salvatore was shot.
* The police captain, Bellodi, asks Salvatore's brother if he refused to pay for protection like all of the other contractors in the city, but his brother denies this.
* The police captain asks all of the men of the Santa Fara Co-op...
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