Headmistress Sarah Bland was not popular - in fact, people had been heard openly wishing her dead - so when she is found bludgeoned to death in her own office, many are suspect. Her demise seems not only desirable but also rather convenient for those members of her staff who chose to absent themselves from school about the time of her death. Of the 850 staff and pupils at Heath Lees High School, many cannot say they did not wish her dead, but only eight cannot prove that they had no opportunity to kill her.
Detective Constable Mitchell is the chief investigator and, as a rather unsuccessful alumnus of the school, he is anxious to prove himself to his ex-teachers and colleagues alike. Investigations into Miss Bland's private life turn up some unexpected secrets as Detective Mitchell gathers the information that will help him solve the case and build his career.