Four pensioners celebrate the fact that they have won 20,000 kronor in the lottery. Just hours later, one of them - Waldemar Leverkuhn - is found in his home, stabbed to death. With Chief Inspector Van Veeteren on sabbatical, working in a second hand bookshop, the case is assigned to Inspector Munster. But when another member of the lottery group disappears, as well as Leverkuhn's neighbour, Munster appeals to Van Veeteren for assistance. Soon Munster will find himself interviewing the Leverkuhn family, including the eldest - Irene - a resident of a psychiatric clinic. And as he delves deeper into the family's history, he will discover dark secrets and startling twists, which not only threaten the clarity of the case - but also his life . . .