Claire Gray is a much traveled, highly regarded and very successful theatrical director who, in the prime of her career, accepts an offer to head the Theatre Department at Desert Arts College near Palm Springs, California. Funded by enigmatic billionaire, Desert Arts College is a new college with a state of the art facility and a prestigious faculty recruited for its inaugural year. But Claire's start is not particularly auspicious - newly arrived and before the school year has even begun, Claire stumbles across a dead body.
The dead body is the wife of a fellow faculty member, whom Claire agreed to drive home from the airport when he came in from a recruiting trip. Since no good dead goes unpunished, Claire is now on the edges of a homicide investigation. Even though she has a million things to do before the semester starts, Claire just can't seem to leave the murder case alone. Drawing upon her theatrical expertise, including a keen understanding of human nature, plotting, and motivation, Claire sets out to untangle the mystery surrounding the brutal murder. There is, however, a murderer on the loose and if Claire isn't careful and lucky, her debut as a sleuth might well be her final act.