Parma. A multiple pile-up occurs on the autostrada into the city. A truck transporting cattle skids off the road. Dozens of cows and bulls go on the rampage, injured and crazed. In the chaos, the burned body of a young woman is found at the side of the road. Her death has no apparent link to the carnage.
Commissario Soneri is assigned the case. It is a welcome distraction: his mercurial lover Angela has decided to pursue other options, leaving him even more morose than usual.
The dead woman is identified as Nina Iliescu, a Romanian immigrant whose beauty had enchanted a string of wealthy lovers. Temptress, muse, angel - she was all things to all men. Her murder conceals a crime and a sacrilege, and even in death she has a surprise waiting for Soneri.