On August 6 th 1989 , the day on which the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration, the body of a strangled transvestite is discovered in the humid undergrowth of the Havana Woods.
He is wearing a beautiful red evening dress and the red ribbon with which he was asphyxiated is still round his neck.
To the consternation of Lieutenant Mario Conde, in charge of the investigation, the victim turns out to be Alexis Arayan, the son of a highly respected diplomat.
His investigation begins with a visit to the home of the 'disgraced' dramatist, Alberto Marques, with whom the murdered youth was living.
Marques, a man of letters and a former giant of the Cuban theatre, helps Conde solve the crime.
In the baking heat of the Havana summer, Conde also unveils a dark, turbulent world of Cubans who live without dreaming of exile, grappling with food shortages and wounds from the Angolan war.