When British academic Malise Gabriel falls to his death from a Rome apartment, detective Nic Costa rapidly comes to realize that there is much more to the accident than he had first thought. It also becomes apparent that Malise's family mysterious and tragic daughter Mina, stoic wife Cecilia and troubled son Robert may be keeping vital information hidden. Nic becomes obsessed with the case, and is especially intrigued by Mina's story which seems to be linked with the sixteenth century-legend of a young Italian noblewoman, Beatrice Cenci. As the investigation deepens, Rome's dark and seedy side is uncovered, revealing a web of deceit, treachery and corruption. Costa realizes that the key to the truth lies with the Gabriels. Why are they so unwilling to co-operate, and who, or what, is the reason for their silence?