In October 1998, General Augusto Pinochet, former dictator of Chile, was arrested in London. He had been charged with crimes against humanity by a Spanish magistrate, but over the 16 months that Pinochet was detained, equally intriguing questions went unanswered about his links with Britain. Why was Margaret Thatcher so keen to defend the General? Why was Tony Blair’s usually cautious government prepared to have him arrested? And why was Britain the General’s favourite foreign country? Andy Beckett offers a compound of history, investigation and travelogue that unravels this strange story.