Happy at last, Wallander buys a farmhouse with his stable, understanding new lover, Vanya, whom he met at the end of Wallander Season II. But then he discovers a skeleton buried under the blackcurrant bushes in the yard. The victim is a young woman, shot with a rifle about ten years earlier.
As fate would have it, Wallander is already investigating the death of another young woman, whose body washed ashore after falling or being pushed from a ferry bound from Poland to Sweden. Nothing appears to connect the two deaths, except both are unidentified females.
Following up the mystery of the blackcurrant body, Wallander talks to Fredrik, a neighboring farmer who recalls a renter, Jan Petrus, who ran a prostitution ring on the property where Wallander now lives. One of Petrus’s daughters has not been seen for a decade.
After getting nowhere in an interview with Petrus, Wallander and his colleague Ann-Britt break into Petrus’s junkyard to gather evidence. When Wallander is attacked by a pair of guard dogs, Ann-Britt shoots the animals dead. The enraged Petrus suddenly appears and takes a swing at Wallander with a sledgehammer. The detective ducks and Ann-Britt gets slammed in the skull, sending her to the hospital in a coma.
With Petrus in custody for attempted murder, Wallander is convinced the junk dealer also killed his daughter and buried her years before.
Meanwhile, in the ferry case, a woman named Snezna steps forward to identify the drowning victim as a fellow Polish prostitute and friend, Marinka Nowak. Marinka was pregnant and looking forward to her baby, Snezna tells Wallander. Unfortunately, the next morning Snezna herself is found dead on a roadside—strangled, apparently by one of her clients.
Simultaneously, the case against Petrus is falling apart. His missing daughter, Ellika, has turned up alive in Arizona and claims to know who the blackcurrant victim is. But she wants a reduced charge against her father for all but killing Ann-Britt, who remains comatose.
Guilt-ridden about Ann-Britt, Wallander is reluctant to see Petrus get off. But he has no choice and takes a prearranged call from Ellika, who identifies the buried girl as an uncooperative member of Petrus’s prostitution ring. Ellika seems to implicate Fredrik, the 65-year-old farmer next door, as responsible for the woman’s death.
Rushing to the farm, Wallander finds Fredrik, who confesses to recently reburying the woman on Wallander’s land so the detective would find her and bring closure to an incident that was tormenting Fredrik.
But the farmer shoots himself before Wallander learns more than a few vague details about the killing. Stunned, he can only pick up Fredrik’s insistently ringing phone. It’s the police, testing numbers called from the ferry the night Marinka plunged over the side. With a link now established between the different deaths, Wallander searches Fredrik’s house and finds a photo of his son, whom the detective recognizes as a member of the ferry’s crew. The sailor is evidently responsible for the murder of all the young women, and he is arrested as soon as his ship docks.
The story closes as Wallander and Vanya emerge from couples therapy. Vanya is beginning to realize that a future with this disheveled, morose cop holds an unending series of bodies found in unlikely places.