A plan to capitalize on the connection between Ferniebank, a Scottish Border Castle, and recently famous Rosslyn Chapel goes awry.
American-born journalist Jean Fairbairn and ex-policeman Alasdair Cameron (The Murder Hole, 2006, etc.) are meeting at Ferniebank for a romantic holiday. Alasdair, newly appointed head of security for Protect and Survive, has temporarily taken over duties at the castle after the caretaker’s demise. He’s suspicious of the death and of several others that have been labeled accidents. Alasdair and Jean are treated to a visit from the resident ghost, whose harp, the Ferniebank clarsach, was stolen and than reappeared. Mystic Scotland, the new owner of Ferniebank, turns out to be run by Alasdair’s ex-wife Ciara Macquarrie, who has a lucrative book deal based on the idea that Ferniebank—through its chapel, built by the same hand as Rosslyn—is linked to the ideas made famous by The Da Vinci Code. When cooking-school owner and local grande dame Minty Rutherford’s husband, whose family sold Ferniebank to Mystic Scotland, is found dead, Alasdair finally convinces the officer in charge that it may be murder by poison. The sad tale of the castle ghost, some territorial policeman, a religious fanatic and other odd characters transform Jean and Alasdair’s idyll into a full-scale murder hunt.
A little romance, a dash of mystery and a soupçon of history make a hearty, if overly complicated, dish.