A 1920s society sleuth visits Scotland, where a difficult case awaits.
Dandy Gilver (After the Armistice Ball, not reviewed) has come to Queensferry to visit her old school chum Frederica de Cassilis, aka Buttercup, recently married to “Cad” de Cassilis, an energetic but clueless American who’s inherited an estate complete with castle. Her arrival coincides with the Ferry Fair, whose ancient customs include a Burry Man who travels around the town wearing a suit of burrs and accepting pennies and tots of whiskey. For 25 years, Cassilis estate worker Robert Dudgeon has assumed the role, but he’s reluctant to take it on this time. Relenting, he ends an exhausting day by changing clothes, making it to the top of the greased pole climb and falling down dead. When his grieving widow begins to act strangely, Cad asks Dandy to look into the fatality even though the police have classed it as a whiskey-fueled heart attack. Dandy, whose business card might describe her as a seeker of truth and grubber-up of nasty little secrets, calls in her sleuthing partner, Alec Osborne, to help her run down the many such secrets in Queensferry. After the requisite blind alleys, Dandy puts all the pieces of the puzzle together and finds the true, if not the legally correct, solution.
Dandy and her friends are charming period pieces who are given an interesting and heartbreaking mystery to solve.