Mary Giordano (Alicia Silverstone) is a bright, intelligent student who attends a Catholic school in Burlingame, California. She is addicted to mystery novels and detective magazines, hence the title of the movie; this inspires her to do her own detective work, as she has aspirations of becoming a police officer herself. When she starts snooping around on the case of murdered teenage girls, it gets her into difficulty with her mentor, Detective Jerry Guinn (Bill Nunn). Guinn knew Mary's father who was a cop and he was killed in the line of duty. He is worried about Mary and doesn't want her in the field. Mary teams up with police cadet Tony Campbell (Kevin Dillon) to investigate, and as the two work together to find the murderer, they seem to have feelings for one another. But the closer Mary gets to solving the murder, the greater the danger of being the next victim to which she exposes herself.
Ultimately, "Campbell" is revealed to be using an alias; his real name is Daniel Henry Moffat and he proves to be the culprit in the murders. The last scene of the film shows Mary pulling on an eight-sided visored cap, obviously part of a police uniform, as she has achieved her ambition and actually become a cop, evidently as a reward for not only having solved the case of the murdered teens but also having saved the internal-affairs unit of the city's police department from the possibility of having to deal with a major corruption scandal years down the line.
Alicia Silverstone as Mary Giordano
Kevin Dillon as Cadet Tony Campbell/Daniel Henry Moffat
Bill Nunn as Detective Jerry Guinn
Michael Bowen as Earl Parkins
Marla Sokoloff as Vicki Giordano
Ann Devaney as Sherry Tarnley
Joshua Shaefer as John Giordano
Jennifer Savidge as Celia Giordano
Tara Subkoff as Liz McConnell
David Packer as Sergeant Collins
Alissa Dowdy as Kathleen Donlevy
Aimee Brooks as Margie Donlevy
The film was produced on location at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, California.
Other titles for this film are Dangerous Kiss and True Detective. As stated above, it was released directly to video instead of in theaters.