The theater department of Bowmouth College provides yet another murder for sleuthing English professor Sarah Deane (Murder in the Rough, 2002, etc.).
Drama School Chairperson Vera Pruczak enjoys stirring things up. Her transgender production of Romeo and Juliet annoys not only the local populace but also the English department Chair, straight arrow Danton McGraw, and the insecure Dean, Alena Fosdick. A few of the female thespians attack the annoying but talented Todd Mancuso, who’s later beaten up in a grocery store full of Halloween-costumed students. The perpetrator is identified as a Draco Malfoy look-alike. Then McGrow is almost killed while surreptitiously replacing the injured Todd as Mercutio. But the worst is yet to come. Along with his best friend, the Dean’s son Derek Mosely, Grover Blaine, the most hated man on campus, is facing sexual-harassment charges until Sarah finds Grover dead in the green room—making her once more a thorn in the side of Sergeant George Fitts, of the Maine State Police. Both victims were stabbed, presumably with one of the many foils floating around the production. Sarah must hack her way through the thicket of interdepartmental rivalries among students, professionals and hangers-on to discover who did the deed.
Loads of faculty backbiting and student hijinks can’t make up for the disappointing ending.