Tapiwa Moyo, the father of a young Zimbabwean family, and son of a now-deceased chief, suffers a brutal warning the eve of his departure from Harare for the United States. With his wife and young son, he arrives in the fall of 1998 at a science institute in southern California. He enrolls at Pasadena Technological Institute as an engineering graduate student, and his son begins attending the campus child care center. Tapiwa is unaware of being under Mugabe's ZANU government surveillance here in the United States.
Culture shock and a strained marriage lead him into a live-in affair with an American woman. Then suddenly, he's dead--accident or murder?--and his son disappears. Amateur sleuth and childcare director Hannah Cooper, unaccustomed to sudden death and international politics in her relatively quiet world, works desperately to find the boy before it's too late.