The day after a storm floods Vigàta, Inspector Montalbano encounters a strange, bedraggled woman who expresses interest in a certain yacht scheduled to dock that afternoon. Not long after she's gone, the crew of the yacht reports having found a dinghy in the port, and within it, a disfigured corpse. Also at anchor is an eighty-five-foot luxury boat with a somewhat shady crew. Both boats will have to stay in Vigàta until the investigation is over—the unidentified man was poisoned, it seems. Based on the information—and misinformation—the mysterious woman shared with him, Montalbano begins to think the occupants of the yacht just might know a little more about the man's death than they're letting on.