When a bloated corpse is found in the canal one early morning, an elegant leather shoe is the only clue Commissario Guido Brunetti has. That and his own memory: Even though the dead man's eyes are closed, the Commissario is convinced he knows their colour from somewhere. But from where? The dead man has a bull neck, a medical condition reportedly caused by a rare illness. But despite his gruesome appearance, he had a gentle soul, as Brunetti and Vianello discover in the course of their investigations. A case that leads them into the bowels of Venice, to Mestre. Family life, strolls and regular visits to the local bars and cafes – Brunetti needs all of this more than ever, while he is solving this upsetting case.