Summer 1946. World War II has just come to an end, and there's a yearning for renewal. A man in his thirties is sailing on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, hoping to put off the inevitable return to work. Dropping anchor in a small, fashionable port, he meets the enigmatic owner of a nearby villa who invites him home for dinner with his older wife and beautiful widowed sister-in-law. The sailor is intrigued by the elegant waterside mansion, staffed with servants and imbued with mystery, and stays in a guest room previously occupied by a now-deceased bishop related to his host. The two men form an uneasy bond, recognizing in each other a shared taste for idling and erotic adventure. They soon set sail together, encountering old flames and making new conquests. But tragedy puts an abrupt halt to their revels and shatters the tranquility of the villa. What really happened on the dock? And who was the figure glimpsed cycling around the shore in the dark?