When the body of an wealthy elderly woman is found, brutally murdered in her Venetian flat, the police suspect her maid, who has disappeared. As the runaway maid's train is leaving Italy for Romania, she is approached by the border police, runs away, and is killed as she crosses the tracks in front of an oncoming train. She has a considerable sum of money on her and her papers are obviously fake. Case closed. But when the old woman's neighbor returns from a business trip in London, it becomes clear that the maid could not have committed the crime. Commissario Guido Brunetti decides - unofficially - to take the case on himself. As Brunetti learns more of the victim's bad character, it appears that the crime may not be motivated by greed after all.