A frustrated publisher receives a mysterious angst-ridden manuscript: 'a friend' must send it in installments; its contents would put the author in danger.
As he pieces together the story, he learns that the author is the wife of one of the two Martelli brothers - gangsters who dominate a small town in the Brazilian interior. Surely her dark outpourings are a cry for help?
One by one, he dispatches his motley collection of friends to Frondosa - a town totally obsessed with five-a-side football - to investigate and to bring her to safety.
LuA-s Fernando VerA-ssimo is a satirist, cartoonist, translator, television writer, saxophonist, playwright and novelist. With over sixty published titles, he is one of the most popular of contemporary Brazilian writers.
Margaret Jull Costa is the award-winning translator of JosAc Saramago, Javier MarA-as, Bernardo Atxaga, EA§a de Queiroz and Fernando Pessoa.