Someone has infiltrated the Ystad police station, effectively closing it down for several critical hours. The culprit is everywhere and nowhere, like a virus that is noticed far too late.

At the same time, Kurt Wallander is trying to comprehend the connection between his colleague Martinson's daughter Therese and a woman found hanged. And why has someone left a chopped-off doll's head in a field?

What is behind all these events, which must have taken years of planning? Wallander and Martinson are soon behaving like hunted animals.