Majorcan Inspector Enrique Alvarez is called out to investigate the seemingly routine accidental death of Englishman Jasper Vickers. However, upon arriving at Vickers's palatial home, it soon becomes apparent that all is not as straightforward as it seems. The presumption that Vickers drunkenly fell from his balustrade does not explain the strips of missing hair on his wrists, the two horizontal cuts on his neck and the swelling of his lips, leading Alvarez to believe him to have been murdered. During the ensuing investigation, Alvarez is castigated by his boss, the pragmatic Salas, for his disregard for officialdom, and degraded by Salas's decision to hand the case over to the slick, suave Inspector Pocavi. Despite this humiliation, Alvarez remains determined to solve the case in the hope that his imaginative approach might win the day.