Summer and heat have come to Venice and it seems even to be too hot for criminals. So, Brunetti may well go into his well-deserved holidays. The two things lying on his desk, do not seem to be urgent: His friend and colleague Vianello is worried about his aunt. She is spending money without any reason and even wants to sell the family-business, Has she become part of a sect?
Another friend, working at the court, tells Brunetti about his suspicion that one judge may suspend willingly lawsuits, where she is the chief judge. Since Brunetti had seen such things a few times before during the cause of his carrier, there was nothing that could not wait until the holidays are over.
Right after the Brunettis entered the train, a court usher was found dead and murdered. He had been working there for many years and was known as quiet and assiduous man. Is there a connection to the suspicion of Brunettis friend? Instead of heading to his holidays, Brunetti is going back to Venice and examining a case leading him way beyond the face of the high-society.