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Who says the life of an educational consultant has to be dull? When beautiful, manipulative Margaret Delaney Taggert takes an indefinite leave of absence from New England's semi-exclusive Bucksport School by drowning in an icy lake, headmistress Dorrie Chapin, feeling on thin ice herself, calls on Thea Kozak (Death at the Wheel, 1996, etc.). She asks Thea to run an audit of the school's safety (anti-homicide?) protocols for the benefit of the surviving students and their nervous families, and urges her more and more forcefully toward the role of Sherlock Holmes--a step not likely to sit well with Dorrie's lover, Sedgwick police chief Rocky Miller. In no time at all, Thea's managed to antagonize not only Miller, and her off-again lover Det. Andre Lemieux, but several suspects who don't even work in law enforcement--Laney Taggert's closemouthed advisor Chas Drucker, Laney's listless preppie houseparent Kathy Donahue and her equally unhelpful husband Bill, swaggering groundskeeper Chris Fuller--and to dig up the kinds of secrets about Laney that made an awful lot of people want to kill her. Evidently, they also make at least a couple of them (""How many murderers and attempted murderers do we have on this campus?"" Dorrie protests in amazement) want to kill Thee (and others less provoking) as well. But trust Thea, whose full-speed-ahead attitude makes her less like Jane Marple than Jane Russell, to goad the killer, like everybody else at Bucksport, into going too far. A triple order of dirty linen, with nary a boring character in the bunch--assuming that almost 400 pages of hothouse intrigue is what you're in the mood for.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Forge/Tor