An impressive first outing introduces Nikki Chase, a young black economics professor at Harvard and a feisty addition to the roster of female amateur sleuths. Nikki has discovered the body of Ella Fisher, the outspoken black dean of students, on a staircase in the Littauer building--this after a meeting of the prestigious Crimson Future Committee, to which both women had been appointed. The police are calling it murder, and Nikki's snooping indeed soon evokes a barrage of suspicions: Was Ella having an affair with the college's newly appointed President Leo Barrett? Where did that leave Barrett's blue-blooded wife Victoria? What is going on between Nikki's mentor Ian McAllister, of the Management Board, and Comptroller Christian Chung, as the Committee struggles to project the school's financial needs accurately? Why was Nikki attacked in the stacks of the Widener Library--her backpack snatched? Who had poisoned her escort Justin Simms at the Fogg Museum Gala, and why? All this, and much more, as Nikki tries to resolve her rocky romance with charismatic Dante Rosario. Answers come slowly, and there are crucial secrets to uncover, before a high-noon standoff brings a surprising denouement. Despite an oversized, albeit intriguing, cast of players and a needlessly complex network of confrontations and subplots, Thomas-Graham's precisely rendered campus background, vivid characters, easydialogue, and fluidly entertaining narrative mark arobustly talented newrecruit to the genre.