Rosa Blumenthal, a librarian from Jerusalem, is recovering from minor plastic surgery intended to restore the delicate lines of her face. She has chosen to spend her convalescence at the Golden Lion, a family-run motel in the picturesque lakeside town of Kilchberg, not far from Zurich. How pleasant and tranquil this place is, thinks Rosa, sitting in the dining-room one morning. How can it be compared to the tumultuous, tense life in Israel, where a new storm may erupt at any moment? And yet, she asks herself, is this only an external appearance? Is evil lurking even in this spectacular landscape, just waiting to manifest itself? The serenity of this beautiful location is indeed about to be shattered. A mysterious murder is about to occur, followed by a set of puzzling incidents, throwing the lives of the motel owners, the guests, and others into turmoil. Several intriguing, colorful characters find themselves entangled in the police investigation: the elderly Ms Ulman, owner of the Golden Lion motel; her helpless son Hans, whose only wish is to escape the motel and his overbearing mother; Judith Sagiv, a musicologist who is on her way to a conference in Freiburg; the twin brothers, Basil and Endive, and their mother, Mimi Hemo-Abramowitz, a food critic who is about to reveal her secret book about erotic foods; Anthony McBain, a - retired police officer; an enigmatic, suspicious Russian man; and the owner of Stanislaus & Co. - a bookstore specializing in ancient books and historical documents.
The mysterious death is followed by a series of equally mysterious events: computer disks are stolen, files erased, identities exchanged, a road accident hospitalizes yet another guest. As the plot thickens, local police, assisted by a representative of Israeli police, as well as Rosa, the amateur detective and her collaborator McBain, follow the lead of an ancient manuscript, questioning the motives of each of the hotel`s guests. The novel reaches its unexpected conclusion when the true motive for the killing is discovered.