Having solved the murder of his vibrant young fiance, Professor Neil Kelly is preparing to leave for a desperately needed sabbatical. But Kelly's plans are cut short by a terrible attack on two of his oldest friends. Nearly as shocking is the information that his friends had, in fact, spent years working for the CIA. Nor is the CIA the only outfit trying to find the attackers. To Kelly's horror, his friends' tragedy becomes the focus of an obscure battle among various government agencies, each jockeying for jurisdiction. And once again, it is up to Kelly to bring the grim bureaucracy of crime-solving back to the all-too-human level.