Entering an isolated farmhouse on what he believes is a routine call, Inspector Wallander discovers a bloodbath. An old man has been tortured and beaten to death and his wife is barely alive. As her life slowly slips away, she whispers to Wallander a word that sounds like "foreigners". When her dying word is leaked to the press by the police, there is an outbreak of racist reprisals in Ystad. Meanwhile, Wallander's personal life is a shambles. On top of that, the fallout from the case causes him to doubt everything, even his abilities as a police officer.