There is an election campaign going on in Skåne and on the square in Ystad the posters of the Social Democratic Party promotes local politician Kenneth Nilsson – a politician who is determined to clear Skåne of its bad reputation as racist. At the same time a train arrives in Gdansk, Poland.
A coloured man is found aboard the train, the major part of his face blown away by a bullet. It seems as if the man was murdered in Ystad which makes it a case for Ystad police and for Kurt Wallander. The investigation becomes complicated when the gun used in the killing traces back to a childhood friend of Kurt Wallander.