For Inspector Hunkeler the New Year begins with a most unwelcome phone call. He is summoned back to Basel from his holiday to unravel a gruesome killing in a gardening allotment on the city’s outskirts. An old man known as Anton Flockiger has been shot in the head and found hanging from a butcher’s hook from the roof of his garden shed – like butchers hang the carcasses of dead animals. Hunkeler must deal not only with the quarrelsome tenants of the allotment but with the challenges of investigating a murder that has taken place outside his jurisdiction, across the French border in Alsace. The clues lead to the Emmental in Berne, and then to events from the last weeks of the Second World War in Alsace. The resolution to the crime is refreshingly surprising and satisfying. It has nothing to do with WWII or the xenophobic antics of the locals and the police. But much to do with love, loneliness, and despair.