Inspector Montalbano rises one morning to find the carcass of a horse on the beach in front of his seaside home. But no sooner do his men arrive, than the body has mysteriously vanished, leaving only a track in the sand. Before long Rachele, a beguiling equestrian champion, turns up at police headquarters to report her horse missing. The horse had been stabled at the grounds of a certain Saverio Lo Duca, one of the richest men in Sicily. Lo Duca has lost one of his own horses too.
Montalbano, his curiosity piqued, investigates, but before long things take a more disturbing turn . . . But who has Montalbano upset within this strange, unfamiliar world of horse-racing? And what has the Mafia to do with it all?