Martin Kilmartin is a popular young Notre Dame professor and a promising poet, and as far as everyone on campus knows, he's off to visit his ancestral Ireland over winter break. It's a shocking moment when Professor Kilmartin is discovered dead in his office, never having made it on his winter retreat. Apparently the victim of a weak heart, Kilmartin's death comes just months before he is to be wed, and on the heels of some outstanding recognition for his verse.
All in all, it seems to be just another campus tragedy, and while some wonder at the authenticity of the official explanation for his death, the police are content to blame his medical condition for his untimely demise. That is, until Professor Roger Knight, big man on campus and compulsively curious amateur sleuth, gets involved. The rotund professor's interest is piqued after reading some of Kilmartin's melancholic work, and he points to several anomalies at the crime scene in questioning the case. Before long, he's unearthed more than a few people with motive to harm the burgeoning artist.
Roger's first task, with the help of his brother Phil, will be to determine whether there has in fact been a crime, and if so, who exactly was behind it. Before he's through, he'll use his diverse experience with poetry, literature, Irish history, and Notre Dame lore, not to mention his ear for university gossip, to get the bottom of another fascinating acadamic whodunit from master storyteller Ralph McInerny.