When a first-classman's insignia is found on the riverbank near the drowned body of plebe David Hand, the specter of murder casts a shadow of scandal across the U.S. Grant Military Academy. General Hedges, the headmaster of the school, is determined to keep the beleaguered school out of the headlines and attempts to cover-up the likelihood of murder by wielding his considerable influence to pass it off as a simple drowning. This is done in spite of forensic reports that show that, shortly before his death, David Hand participated in "consensual sexual relations" with another man. Letters from the dead boy, which the Army Intelligence Department "confiscates" from his sister's New York apartment, implicate Ry Slaight as the first-classman with whom David was in love. As General Hedges says, "You cannot have a murder without a murderer." He offers Slaight the opportunity to "go quietly" which means he would be washed out into the infantry and quickly bound for Vietnam. Professing his innocence in the matter, Slaight refuses the invitation at which point General Hedges threatens to court-martial him on a point of "honor." Enlisting the aid of Elizabeth Hand, the dead boy's sister, Slaight sets out to find the first-classman with whom her brother was involved -- the first- classman who killed her brother.
- Written by
Mark Fleetwood <email@example.com>
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