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Sergeant MacRae's first case with Chief Inspector Ian Forsyth, explaining their odd relationship and giving a humorous insight into the Scottish university scene. A lecturer is murdered in Inverforth University and MacRae is appalled when Forsyth lets an academic committee loose on the investigation, making a bet with the University's Principal on who will solve the crime. A second murder occurs and MacRae is in despair, fearing for his job, when an academic admits he has solved the mystery and the other two say likewise. But it emerges each has fastened on a clue relevant to his own discipline and they have come to three different solutions. Forsyth again triumphs by using logical deduction to name the killer.