In Earthly Remains, Comissario Guido Brunetti's endurance is tested more than ever before. During an interrogation, Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he quickly comes to regret, and in the fallout, he realizes that he needs a break. Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti's wife Paola ships him off to a villa owned by a wealthy relative on Sant'Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny's Natural History. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until David Casati, the caretaker of the house, goes missing following a sudden storm. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his leave of absence and understand what happened to the man who had become his friend.