One icy winter evening, Brunetti notices a blonde in fur coat and high heels when he and Paola are on their way to a dinner invitation at the Faliers. The blonde woman turns out to be placed next to him at the table, and despite her mask-like features she is unexpectedly well-educated: she has read both Cicero and Ovid, and makes a deeper impression on Brunetti than he himself likes. But the façade of Franca Marinello – »la Superliftata« – is not the only thing that it is difficult to look behind. There is also the impenetrable toxic waste business, which casts its net wider and wider. The special agent of the carabinieri, Guarino, has only just asked the commissario for help, when he is found dead. Brunetti's sole clue is a face in three-quarters profile, photographed on a mobile phone in some Venice bar. Mafia and metamorphoses: Brunetti needs his intuition more than ever to solve this case and to clarify his feelings and his thoughts.