|An older professor,
head of accounting department at Bentley College, is murdered
in a men's room at the college. He has been a widower for fifteen
years and has walked around Franklin, Maine every chance he
could for all those years, since his wife's death by hit-and-run
car, probing the earth with a steel rod.
People in Franklin think he is looking
for gold or treasure, has "lost a bit of it", and
tolerate him. But, unknown to everybody, he is looking for
the car which he believes killed his wife and is buried on
a neighbor's farm in that town.
Harry Krisman has left BPD, after
a serious accident which forces him to wear a prostheses,
and is now is private practice. Maxine, his girlfriend, gets
him on the case when the professor is killed at the college
where she teaches. The professor had hired her into his department.
The professor was getting close
to proving the identity of his wife's killer, via his search
for the car using a steel probe rod. He's kept a map of the
area or acreage he's checked out.
Discussions in Maxine's classes
unveil possible answers to his death. A series of single clues
draws Harry, Maxine and Harry's partner, former judge Kell
Thorn, up to Franklin where we meet the chief suspect, a Peeping
Tom named Merchant Blore who buried the death car fifteen
years earlier and even planted a tree on top of it. But he's
been nervous ever since and has long watched the professor
in his search.
More murders take place in Franklin
when Blore sees others, now involved, coming close to what
the professor almost found. Harry is shot by Blore just when
he is about to find the hit-and-run car, with a metal detector,
which the professor dared not use.
And all the deaths are traced
to, Merchant Blore, owner of the death car.