Ida Joner gets on her brand-new bike and sets off toward town. A good-natured, happy girl, she is looking forward to her tenth birthday. Thirty-five minutes after Ida should have come home, her mother starts to worry. She phones store owners, Idas friends, anyone who could have seen her. But no one has. Suspicion immediately falls on Emil Mork, a local character who lives alone and hasnt spoken since childhood. His mother insists on cleaning his house weeklyalthough shes sometimes afraid of what she might find there. A mothers worst nightmare in either case: to lose a child or to think a child capable of murder. As Idas relatives reach the breaking point and the media frenzy surrounding the case begins, Inspector Konrad Sejer is his usual calm and reassuring self. But hes puzzled. And disturbed. This is the strangest case hes seen in years.