The day gets off to a bad start for Montalbano: while trying to break up a fight on Marinella beach, he hits the wrong man and is stopped by the Carabinieri. When he finally gets to the office, the inspector learns about a strange abduction: a woman was abducted, drugged, and then released unharmed a few hours later. A few days later, the same thing happens again, but this time the woman abducted is the niece of Enzo, the owner of Montalbano’s favorite trattoria. The only link between the two events is that both women are thirty years old and work in a bank.
Alongside this investigation, Montalbano has to deal with an arson case. A shop that sells household appliances has burned down, and its owner, Marcello Di Carlo, seems to have vanished into thin air. Has he run off with his lover after a holiday in the Canary Islands? Is he fleeing from his creditors, or was he murdered by the mafia for not paying their protection money? At first this seems like a trivial case, but a third abduction—yet again of a girl who works in a bank—and the discovery of a body bring up new questions. Whose body is it? And where has Di Carlo’s secret lover gone?