On a remote Spanish island near the African coast, a young scientist, Epiphany Jerome, is looking for a rare beetle. Instead she finds a body on an empty beach with a knife sticking out from its back.
It's the daughter of Epiphany's landlady and the single mother of an 11-year old girl devoted to Epiphany's small dog, Mostly. As a forensic entomologist trained in the language of insects, Epiphany can tell the police more about the baffling murder than, apparently, they care to know.
A second body turns up: a beautiful hooker from Berlin that Epiphany's husband knows just a little too well. The medical examiner requests the entomologist's expertise once more, and this time the police are very interested in what she has to say. But Epiphany has gone off alone into the islands rugged interior tracking nature's clues, unaware that her life is about to be irrevocably altered.