In the chilly gray port town of Rouen, De Trichère, a man who's made his fortune in shipping, is dying of cancer. He lost his wife to bombing during the war, and his daughter lost the use of her legs. Now the wheelchair-bound girl is all he has left, and he's willing to go to any lengths to secure her future. Cozying up to a former first mate with a reputation for sadism? Check. Insurance fraud on a massive scale? Check. Sending over fifty sailors to certain doom, sure, but even... murdering his own secretary when she finds out?