The Venetian inspector has been called on to investigate many things, from shocking to petty crimes. But this time, Brunetti finds himself drawn into a case that may not be a case at all. Fifteen years ago, a teenage girl fell into a canal late at night. A drunk man claimed he saw her thrown into the canal by another man, but the following day he couldn't remember a thing. Now, a wealthy and aristocratic patroness - the girl's grandmother - asks Brunetti if he will investigate. Brunetti's not sure what to do. But out of a mixture of curiosity, pity, and a willingness to fulfill the wishes of a guilt-wracked older woman, who happens to be his mother-in-law's best friend, he agrees. Brunetti soon finds himself unable to let the case rest, if indeed there is a case.