Commissario Brunetti is faced with another dark mystery.
In a small village at the foot of the Italian Dolomites, the gardens of a deserted farmhouse have lain untouched for decades.
But the new owner, keen for renovations to begin, is summoned urgently to the house when his workmen disturb a macabre grave. Wild animals have done their grisly work and the human corpse is badly decomposed.
Then a valuable signet ring is found close by, providing the first vital clue.
It leads Commissario Guido Brunetti right to the heart of aristocratic Venice, to a family still grieving for its abducted son ...