Amanda Pepper was making her great escape from Head Master Havermeyer's annual assembly address when she stumbled upon the body of a man lying at the bottom of the school's marble staircase. When the police and ambulance arrive, it seems the man is hanging on by a thread and they rush him to the hospital. Mandy answers Detective Owen Edwards' questions as best as she can, but there is not much to tell about a man she has never seen before and who no one saw enter the school. What was he doing there, when he had no student enrolled there? Why was he upstairs? It is not till later she finds a styrofoam cup sitting on the sill in her room. She takes it to the police and finds out from Edwards that the man, Tomas Severin, had her name in his notebook. Later, a message left by her friend Sasha says that she had given Tomas Mandy's name to hire her and her fiancé, CK Mackenzie, to look into some annoying phone calls he had been receiving.
This is the next to the last of Gillian Roberts' Amanda Pepper Mystery series. I hate to see the end growing nearer as I have enjoyed reading each of the stories and watching the development of the relationships, especially the one between CK and Amanda. That was the one relationship I truly did not see having a future, but was glad to be proven wrong. Just because she is bringing the series to a close does not mean that Ms. Roberts has let up on the plot twists and turns. Added to the stress of teaching and working as a part-time PI, Amanda must also deal with mother, sister and mother-in-law wedding planners who are driving her nuts. You can not help but laugh at the witty dialog and humor peppering the story. As you delve into the story you will find that you do not want to put the book down. The wedding is approaching, and all that stands in the way is finding out how Tomas Severin died and who had a hand in it? If all is resolved maybe you will be able to attend the nuptials and wish them well.
Traditionally, Old Philadelphians keep a low profile. They associate with one another and leave life as discreetly as they have lived it. So Philly Prep English teacher Amanda Pepper, who thinks her only current problems are keeping her well-meaning family from hijacking her wedding, is understandably stunned to discover a perfect specimen of the species dying at the foot of the school’s marble staircase.
It is anybody’s guess what led to Tomas Severin’s apparent fall and, indeed, why he was in the building in the first place. More questions arise when Amanda enters her otherwise empty classroom and finds a take-out cup of herbal tea laced with the party drug her students call roofies. Why would a middle-aged Philadelphian have a date-rape drug in his tea? Why does he have Amanda’s name scribbled in his pocket notebook?
Hired by a member of the Severin family household, Amanda and her fiancé, C.K. Mackenzie, realize that many people felt their lives would improve if Tom’s life ended–-making it seemingly impossible to determine who’d been harassing Severin with threatening phone calls. Tom Severin leaves behind angry ex-wives, one recently dropped fiancée, and the current (about to be exed) Mrs. Tomas Severin. As secrets are unearthed, and cruelties old and new revealed, it’s apparent that the end of Tom is just the beginning of the grief he caused.