The ultra-elegant fund-raiser in a fabled Main Line mansion benefits Philly Prep's Library, and gives Amanda a chance to play Cinderella for a night. The first clue that all might not go well is the host's figure hanging in effigy outside the estate, put there by the Moral Ecologists who have a long list of classic books that "pollute the mind." When murder follows, Amanda becomes enmeshed in old secrets and young lives.
Amanda Pepper has a delicate job as an English teacher at Philadelphia's exclusive Philly Prep. She must interact tactfully with a broad spectrum of the city's elite--and, as this unpredictable and witty book ably points out, none of them are what they seem to be. Adoptive parents of Griffin and generous contributors to the school's library fund, Neddy and Tea Roederer are at home among the Main Line's old-money brahmins. But why is Neddy's background so murky? Is he open to blackmail? The Reverend Harry Spiers is the leader of a book-burning right-wing group called Moral Ecology, and he's also the stepfather of student Jake Ulrich. Can this charismatic and powerful man browbeat the school into purging its library? When the reverend's strangled and burned body is discovered, suspicion falls upon a wide circle of acquaintances who despised the bully--among them the two boys, Griffin and Jake, who formed a close bond while working on the school paper, surfing the Internet and sharing a keen interest in old, unsolved crimes. When Neddy, too, is murdered, Amanda and her lover, Mackenzie, a shrewd and capable homicide detective with a wry sense of humor, spring into decisive action. This latest Amanda Pepper caper (after The Mummer's Curse) is another swift and intriguing spin through the sometimes murderous precincts of Philadelphia.