The body, what was left of it, was drifting in Havana Bay the morning Arkady arrived from Moscow. Only the day before, he had received an urgent message from the Russian embassy in Havana saying that his friend Pribluda was missing and asking that he come. The Cubans insisted that this corpse floating in an inner tube was Pribluda, but Arkady wasn't so sure. And he didn't think that floating in an inner tube was a natural way for a Russian to die. "You don't investigate assault, you don't investigate murder. Just what do you investigate?" Arkady asks Ofelia Osorio, a detective in the Policia Nacional de la Revolucion. "Or is it simply open season on Russians in Havana?" The Revolution's heroes have outlived idealism. The Communist world has shrunk to Cuba. Paradise has become a stop on sex tours. Havana is a city of empty stores and talking drums, Karl Marx and sharp machetes, where an American radical rides around in Hemingway's car to tout island investments and a Wall Street developer on the run from the FBI flies a pirate flag. But the dead Russian is followed by the murders of a Cuban boxer and a prostitute. Although none of them is supposed to be investigated, Arkady cannot be stopped. He speaks no Spanish, knows nothing about Cuba, and, as a Russian, is a pariah. However, there is something about this faded, lovely, dangerous city - the rhythms of waves against the seawall, the insinuation of music always in the air, and, finally, Ofelia herself - that plunges Arkady back into life.