Heather Wells enjoys her job as assistant dormitory director much more than she ever liked being a pop star. Now she has a romance going with her hunky blond remedial math professor, Tad Tocco. She wants to impress him so badly that she is actually --- well, kind of --- jogging with him (at least for a few gasping moments). Heather keeps telling herself how crazy she is about Tad while simultaneously trying not to think about her hot apartment mate Cooper, but she is taken aback when Tad announces he has a huge question for her "when the time is right." He even hints that she will need a leave of absence from her job. Gulp! Could this be a marriage proposal? Yikes!
Meanwhile, Heather knows she must keep her relationship with Tad hidden from her humorless boss, Owen Veatch. Owen is just the interim director since the college is having a hard time finding a permanent director for Fischer Hall, also known as "Death Dorm" because of the several murders that have taken place there. Heather does not like Owen, who berates her for not following every tiny rule when he is not arguing with the Graduate Student Collective, a union of graduate student workers who are protesting pay cuts and decreasing benefit packages.
In spite of life's complications, Heather is in a happy mood as she enters Fischer Hall early to begin work. But that euphoria is cut short when she walks into the office to discover that Owen has been shot in the head. And she is appalled when her co-worker, Sarah, who is part of the graduate student employee union, announces that Owen had it coming. When she meets Sarah's crush, Sebastian Blumenthal, head of the Graduate Student Collective, Heather is also horrified at his reaction to the news of Owen's death. She can only hope that such a delighted response doesn't mean he or the union had anything to do with her boss's death.
But Heather has more personal worries to fret over, as she discovers when she chats with Detective Canavan (well known to Heather from the previous murders at Fischer Hall). The detective does not act delighted to see Heather again. In fact, he grills her in a way that suggests strongly that Heather is actually a suspect in Owen's death. She can't tell him where she really was (in bed with her math professor). However, Heather is aghast when she discovers who the main suspect is --- and even more so when she learns that the suspect is definitely not guilty. In spite of Cooper's urging for her to stay out of the case, Heather cannot rest until she solves the mystery.
This third Heather Wells mystery continues the tradition of purely enjoyable escape reading with Meg Cabot's signature mixture of endearing heroine, hilarious asides and tantalizing romance. Although it feels that the resolution for both mystery and romance is a bit abrupt, we just might chalk that up to a reader's reluctance to finish such a pleasurable book.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon (email@example.com) on January 7, 2011