Faraday Trust, a fashionably liberal boarding school with a reputation for musical excellence is struggling in the face of exams. Poor test scores have prompted several withdrawals, and as a result, the trustees are beginning to worry. The headmaster has been asked to step down and a raging battle for his position is about to begin.
In the midst of this turmoil a troubled young pupil is causing her parents and the staff a great deal of concern. Disruptive, moody, and sexually precocious, Catriona Roberts is struggling academically and depressed about her relationship with the school's musical star, Giles Quentin. She has slashed her wrists on more than one occasion, and no one is surprised when she is found dead at a party, immersed in a tub of bloody water. But Detective Chief Inspector John McLeish and his wife, Francesca Wilson, are also guests at this party, and McLeish-too experienced to accept the obvious conclusion-quickly determines that this was not a suicide. The fact that Catriona was three months pregnant only confirms his suspicions.
One of the first to be questioned is Giles Quentin. Could he have killed the troubled girl to save his burgeoning singing career? Or was it Piers Miller, a favorite for the headmaster position, whom Catriona had accused of harassment just hours before her death?
A grave threat to Francesca and her family brings the investigation to a thrilling and unexpected end.