Pickax’s only millionaire, Jim Qwilleran (The Cat Who Saw Stars, 1999, etc.), a columnist for the Moose County Something, is enjoying life in the spectacularly redesigned old barn where he spends the summer months with his Siamese cats Koko and Yum Yum, his harbingers of good and evil. The town’s in a tizzy about the opening of the equally redone Pickax Hotel, now called the MacIntosh Inn, a name rooted in the past of Qwilleran’s mother Annie. One of the hotel’s customers for many years has been jewelry dealer Mr. Delecamp from Chicago, usually arriving with a stock of handsome samples and sometimes heirloom pieces bought from local dowagers, and a young, attractive aide in tow. On the last day of this visit, the chambermaid finds him smothered to death in his bed, his aide nowhere to be found. Suspicion falls on Boze Campbell, a part-time receptionist at the hotel who’s also a champion at throwing the caber at the Scottish Games. He’s vanished, evidently into the nearby woods, and presumably not just to practice for the next Games. It’s a long haul before Boze’s guilt or innocence is established. Along the way the story stops periodically for a parade of chatty down-home locals and lots of fortune-telling pranks from you-know-which species. One of the least of Braun’s lesser efforts.