The Christmas rush is under way in a big Reykjavik hotel when the poli ce are called to the scene of a murder. The hotel doorman (and long-ti me resident of its basement) has been stabbed to death. With the hotel fully booked, the manager is desperate to keep the murder under wraps and his reputation intact. Detectives Erlendur and Sigurdur Oli disco ver that the dead man had a childhood brush with fame and now two old 45s on which he had sung have become prized collectors' items. Estrang ed from his family for decades, why had the man continued to pay secre t visits to his boyhood home? As Elinborg investigates a separate case of child abuse, and Erlendur continues to struggle both with his trou bled family relationships and the ghosts of his own youth, their paral lel stories probe deeper into the riddle of this latest Reykjavik murd er mystery.