The book is set in an island off the coast of Washington State known as San Piedro. It is here, not long after the Second World War, where all the islanders that inhabit this island are still grudging from the insecurities the war had brought forth to them. And now the wound is healing in a petty pace, but the scar left by the war is still visible. This is where Kabuo Miyamoto's trial proceeded in the Amity Harbor Court house. Kabuo has been charged with the murder of Carl Heine, a local gill-netter, who was found deceased on a September morning tangled in his own nets and submerged underwater. It was obvious that he had drowned and was assumed an accident.
The evidence and mostly suspicion started to fall in place when the investigation was in action. And it was just too convincing to deny that it was an accident.
As the town Sheriff fiddled with his mind and played a little bit of Sherlock Holmes, he produced an assumption that the suspect must have been Kabuo. Since, Kabuo coincidently was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the finger had been pointed at him. At the time of Carl's death at sea, Kabuo was believed to be fishing in an area not far from Carl's boat. There were other factors that were of significances to the guilt of Kabuo. The bloody fishing gaff found on Kabuo's boat, a mooring line found on Carl's boat that are of similarity to Kabuo's lines and the fractured wound right above Carl's left ear. The severe puncture into Carl's head was of resemblance to the same wound made by Japanese soldiers during the war where they used the gun butts and whaled it fiercely from the right to the left.