Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice Questura is shocked to hear that Brett Lynch, a friend since a murder case at La Fenice, has suffered a savage beating. The attack, in the beautiful palazzo home of Flavia Petrelli, reigning diva of La Scala, had come with a message: 'Don't keep that appointment with Dottor Semenzato.' Then, with the storm clouds gathering fast over the city, a man's body is found . . .