Our protagonist is Professor Magnus "Max" Stefansson, a history professor, and the time is the late 1980s. Max is approached by Oliver Goldsmith, a wealthy big wheel in the local town whose granddaughter has gone missing. Liz had been in one of Max's classes and had mentioned how much she liked him. This is the tenuous link which causes Goldsmith to ask Max to investigate the disappearance. Max, with no detective background at all, agrees and in no time discovers the body. Amazingly enough for an ivory tower academic, he owns a gun, seems incredibly well-versed in investigative techniques, and has access to a retired police dog. This is convenient because the dog leads him to the shallow grave where Liz has been buried. Max spends the rest of his time uncovering the secrets that led to Liz's death, falling in love with Liz's aunt, and looking for justice for what the law can't touch.