Sam Wiseman runs an independent bookstore near McGill University in the heart of Montreal. His existence is untroubled and his relationships are steady - until the day he stops a shoplifter. Out of this seemingly innocent incident, Sam becomes friends with Gaston Lemieux, a police detective with a great affection for nineteenth-century British novels.
The friendship develops when Sam discovers the body of professor Harold Hilliard - a long-time customer of the store - dead in his office at McGill. Sam is implicated in the murder when it is discovered that the victim is clutching a special order form from Sam's store in what clearly is an attempt to reveal the identity of his murderer.
Part police-procedural and part cozy mystery, A Death at the University introduces a new sleuth to the Canadian murder-mystery scene - one whose continuing presence will be anticipated and enjoyed for mysteries to come.