Detective Harry Hole arrives in a steaming hot Bangkok. But it's work not pleasure. The Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a seedy motel room, and no witnesses have come forward. The ambassador had close ties to the Norwegian Prime Minister, and to avoid a scandal Harry is sent there to hush up the case.
But he quickly discovers that there is much more going on behind the scenes and very few people willing to talk. When Harry lays hands on some CCTV footage that will help him unravel what happened that night, things only get more complicated. The man who gave him the tape goes missing, and Harry realises that failing to solve a murder case is by no means the only danger in Bangkok.