In 1917 in a small town in Northern France a crime is committed. It is the dead of winter and the war is still being fought in the trenches, within sight and sound of the town. One freezing-cold morning, a beautiful ten-year-old girl, one of three daughters of the local innkeeper, is found strangled and dumped in the local canal. Suspicion falls on two deserters who are picked up near the town. Their interrogation and sentencing is brutal and swift. Twenty years later, the man who originally investigated the crime tries to piece together what actually happened the night the girl died.