In the summer of 1947, a small town outside Paris is rocked by scandal when a member of its Russian emigre community drowns in a boating incident and the woman with him, an enigmatic White Russian princess, is charged with his murder. But Olga Arbyelina is acquitted. Then the story unfolds of the preceding year and gradually a different, secret and more shocking crime emerges - Olga, separated from her husband, exiled from her homeland and convinced her life has reached a dead end, has allowed her adolescent son to commit incest with her, believing he has drugged her to sleep. Horrified at her own complicity yet oddly paralysed, she does nothing to halt it. Until she thinks they have been observed.