At Harvard, tenure decisions are a matter of life -- or death.
For Dennis Gossen, the economics department whiz kid currently being considered for tenure, it's definitely death. When he's turned down by the high-and-mighty Promotion and Tenure Committee, Gossen commits suicide.
A Question of Cost Accounting...
Or does he? It's hard to imagine why a young man with a brilliant scholarly future -- at Harvard or not -- would come up with an equation in which the opportunity cost of killing himself (a high price, considering his potential earnings) would be outweighed by the emotional cost of failing to receive tenure.
... Or Utility?
Then two members of the P and T Committee are murdered, and it becomes clear to Professor Henry Spearman of the Economics Department that the killer must be on the committee. But which of his illustrious colleagues would have significantly increased his -- or her -- utility (i.e., happiness) by murdering a faculty member or two? Or three?