It is 1930 and in a roadside inn outside Berlin Pavel Alexandrovich sits reading-- keeping very much to himself. A salesman, Liszt, arrives in search of lodgings. He engages Pavel in conversation about the war period. Reluctant at first, Pavel eventually recounts how he assisted in the execution of Tsar Nicholas. It has haunted him ever since. His story leads to the perennial mystery of Anastasia's fate. Surprisingly, Pavel suspects that a prostitute at the inn could be the Russian princess. The denouement is even more surprising-- but by then Pavel is too sunk in alcoholic oblivion to realize it.