A frightening death in a quiet part of SW France. This is not a case of give someone enough rope and they will hang themselves. No. This time the abundance of rope has been wound round the body of a teacher, Claire Diemar. Then she was given a bath, submerged, drowned, deliberately. A student is found, sitting, stunned, beside the swimming pool at her house. Eerily watching the dolls that have been left floating in the water.
That makes him prime suspect…but there are so many other ties for Commandant Martin Servaz of the Toulouse crime squad to uncover.
Some of them far too close to home as to be comfortable. Some hark back to his own student days. Some tie in with Julian Hirtmann, the murderous serial killer who had escaped from the Wargnier Institute, a clinic for the criminally insane. He had an obsession with the music of Mahler just as much as with his victims. An obsession he shared with Commandant Servaz.
Mademoiselle Claire Diemar is not the only one to die. Until Servaz can marry events in the past to consuming pre-occupations in the present, some of which are very personal, things will only get worse. His daughter, Magot Servaz, is in danger, a serial killer has vengeance in his mind and his ex-lover Marianne wants to make amends. It is a tangled web, right to the death.