Detective Alice Vireo is pissed off. She didn’t take this teaching job in north end Montreal to find herself smack in the middle of a murder case. But that’s exactly where she is.
Estie Leduc, a French teacher, is found dead in the language lab and Dean Joy Masterson demands that Alice be on the case. If suspecting the dean of hiding something weren’t bad enough, Detective Darren Van Ray, an old flame who dumped Alice, shows up with his winning smile, stirring up itchy feelings.
Missing tapes, an ugly scarf, an unusual will and an uncooperative staff are what Darren and Alice are up against. Motives for Estie’s death are plenty: revenge, money, job security, hatred, fraud, blackmail and fear. Yet everyone has an alibi as solid as rock. That is, until the time of death changes and secrets, affairs and threats set panic on campus while an autopsy shows that Estie was three months pregnant. Who was the father? Why was Estie’s step mother so bitterly against this pregnancy?
Buried beneath a tile in Estie Leduc’s bathroom, Alice finds a tape by Cora Eliot, a young student who died suddenly last fall. The connection between Estie Leduc’s murder and Cora’s death couldn’t be clearer. It is the why of Cora’s Cry for Help that’s perfectly blurry.
But Cora isn’t alone. There’s Sondra Best, the student Estie Leduc had told Alice was in trouble and now Sondra has dropped out of the program but is reluctant to say why. What does she know that she is so fearful of speaking? Will she become the next victim? Will Alice be able to find the murderer in time?
To make matters worse Alice’s romantic fantasies of finding the love she lost turn out to be nothing like what she had expected.