When a fly-covered canvas bag floats to the surface of North Carolina's Mountain Island Lake, forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is called to the scene. Animal remains? Or could this be related to bone fragments from a human male found nearby? To Tempe's surprise, the decomposed body indicates the person was a female young adult. The profile fits the description of a missing graduate student named Edith Blankenship. Was Blankenship murdered? If so, why?