In a field of rape, something incomprehensible happens: on one of the warmest days at the height of midsummer, Chief Inspector Kurt Wallender is only able to stand by and watch how a young girl pours petrol over herself and then sets herself alight right in front of him. The inspector is horrified: “I live in a world in which young people take their lives because they cannot take thins any more. If I’m going to continue to be a policeman, I must understand why”.
Kurt Wallander begins to research into the background of the horrifying deed. But the solution of this case must first wait as a serial murderer – in the mask of the Indian Geronimo – strikes mercilessly. The unknown murderer always leaves a ghastly visiting card behind him: he scalps the victims.
In the course of his investigations, Kurt Wallander comes across a ring of unscrupulous criminals which appears to extend up into the highest echelons of Swedish society. A scandal begins to emerge, but the right track points in another, almost inconceivable direction.