Briarpatch College has all the problems of American higher education in the nineties, at least as many as can be packed onto one small semirural campus. Unfortunately, Briarpatch also has had a multitude of other problems the administration would rather not admit. In the last few years, the academic dean has drowned, the president has died suspiciously, and one scandal after another has rocked the college—all events allegedly instigated by the late dean. Now with a new president in place and the college operating on a somewhat normal routine again, no one has any idea that in just a short time, the discovery of the librarian’s body will upset everything and everyone.
Mirabel Gates was a person with no friends, but also no particular enemies. Consequently, she appeared unlikely to be at the center of scandals that threaten President Flora Boater’s plans to push the college off the bottom of the US News popularity poll. As Professor Donahue and Chief Biggs begin investigating the librarian’s death, they begin to suspect once again that the late dean is somehow involved.
In this continuing mystery, murders, scandals, and the complications of academic fads shake the foundation of a small college as everyone wonders who will be the next victim.