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A mutilated corpse, its hands severed at the wrist, is found floating in a dinghy at sea. Investigating the bizarre death, Scotland Yard's Commander Adam Dalgliesh is drawn into an increasingly macabre murder case and a multi-million dollar currency scam. He quickly discovers that the victim had many enemies, all of them with a strong motive for wishing him dead - and all with cast iron alibis. As the case deepens, Dalgliesh's dedication to finding the murderer threatens his relationship with the woman he loves, puts her life at risk and ultimately finds him in a desperate fight to save his own.