Commissario Brunetti's hopes of a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are once again dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in Marghera - a body so badly beaten the face is unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the dead man. But he is met with a wall of silence. Then he receives a telephone call from a contact who promises some tantalizing information. And before the night is out Brunetti is confronting yet another appalling and apparently senseless death ...