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Allan Prime looked ready to die of fright, even before the bright, shining spear with the blood-soaked tip reached his head . . .
The death mask of the poet Dante is to be exhibited at the premiere of a controversial new film, Inferno. But at the grand unveiling this priceless artefact is replaced by a macabre death mask of the film's star, Allan Prime. Minutes later the leading actress, Maggie Flavier, is threatened before her attacker is shot.
Nic Costa and his team are sidelined from the investigation in Rome and follow the movie to its next showing in San Francisco, hoping to recover the stolen death mask.
But in California confusing new clues suggest that there is more behind the killing than a crazed Dante fan. With the authorities distracted by false leads, can Costa protect Maggie, find the truth and stop the killer - all before life imitates art?