After a long and successful career as a theatre director in Manhattan, fifty-something Claire Gray succumbed to a tempting offer to establish the theatre department at the new and very well funded Desert Arts College in Palm Springs. It has proven to be an exciting opportunity for Claire but now she's facing the end of her first academic year with a measure of melancholy. Not only is the spring production about to end but her student and clandestine lover, Tanner Griffin, is about to leave school for Hollywood. The person responsible - renowned producer Spencer Wallace - spotted Tanner in an earlier school stage production and signed him to a role in his next film, Photo Flash. Now with the closing performance of the spring production completed, the cast party at Claire's house promises to be a bittersweet affair.
What Claire gets, however, is more than she bargained for when, in the middle of the very crowded affair, Spencer Wallace turns up dead in Claire's pool. To make it worse, Claire herself is one of the most probable suspects - with means, motive, and opportunity to have committed the deed. But Wallace is a man with a past and a reputation - and there are far more than a handful of people with better reasons to wish him harm. Now, with time running short, it falls to Claire to figure out who is really responsible before someone else gets away with the crime and leaves her holding the bag.