Benjamin Esposito has spent his entire working life as a criminal court employee. Recently retired and with time on his hands, he decides to write a novel. He does not decide to make up a story. There is no need to. He can draw on his own past as a civil servant for a true, moving and tragic story in which he was once very directly involved. In 1974, his court was assigned an investigation into the rape and murder of a beautiful young woman.
At the scene of the crime, Esposito sees the result of the young woman's rape and murder first hand. He meets Ricardo Morales, who had married the girl a short time before and worshipped her body and soul. Moved by Ricardo's grief, Esposito tries to help him find the culprit despite having to contend with the apathy and ineptitude of the police and legal system. He knows that for help he can count on Sandoval, an underling at the office yet a close friend, who occasionally seeks release from the routine of his existence by drinking himself unconscious. He can also turn to Irene, his immediate superior and secretary of the court, with whom he is secretly deeply in love, although there is no hope that she will ever love him.
The search for the murderer is anything but simple. No clues remain at the scene of the crime and Esposito must rely on guesswork and his own instincts to make any progress. Furthermore, Argentina in 1974 is not a peaceful place. It is a perfect backdrop for the violence, hate, revenge and death that rule people's lives and fates.
To this ever more hostile and dark setting, Esposito's investigation takes him deep into a world of terrible violence. No longer an observer, he becomes an unwilling central character in a drama in which he is exposed to ever-greater danger.
But it is not only the young Esposito of 1974 who is swept along by the storm of events, for that storm also envelops the present-day Esposito, the old would-be writer, and sets him adrift. By deciding to revive and relive his memories, he has set in motion the wheels of the terrible mechanism of memory. And those memories are neither innocent, neutral nor aseptic. Esposito writes, and as he does so, relives a past that rises up before his eyes and awakens all his demons: particularly those involving his past decisions, uncertainties and irreparable mistakes.
As he moves forward, Esposito begins to see that it is now too late to stop. Telling a story from the past is no longer just a pastime to fill his empty hours. It becomes a narrow, winding path he must take if he is to understand and find justification for his own life, if he is to give any meaning to the years remaining to him, and if once and for all he is to face up to the woman who, thirty years on, he is still in love with.