Hamish Macbeth, the one-man police force of Lochdubh, a village in the Scottish Highlands (Death of a Macho Man, 1996, etc.), wakes up one morning with a toothache that drives him to Dr. Gilchrist, a butcher of a dentist in nearby Braikie. Arriving for his appointment, Hamish finds Maggie Bane, the receptionist, absent and the dentist dead--poisoned, as it turns out, and seated in the patient's chair, each of his teeth drilled. Hamish's superior and archenemy, Detective Chief Inspector Blair, at headquarters in Strathbane, wants no help from Hamish, so he must conduct his inquiries stealthily. He has the help of Sarah Hudson, a friend of Hamish's onetime love Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. Sarah knows how to use Hamish's computer to hack into police records at headquarters. Meanwhile, Hamish does his legwork--talking to Maggie, Blair's chief suspect; to Gilchrist's ex-wife in Inverness; to Kylie Fraser, a tarty clerk at the local pharmacy--exploring Gilchrist's womanizing reputation and trying to make a connection between his death and a recent big-bucks robbery at the sleazy Scotsman hotel where even the manager's slatternly wife was an early conquest of Gilchrist's. Matters are further complicated by rumors of a massive illegal that's still being run by the vile Smiley brothers. This one gets Hamish into trouble, big-time, and brings a rescue by Sarah, but not until another murder is committed do all the loose ends come together. An unusually energetic Hamish (in this 13th appearance): a cast of engaging locals with full-blown Highland accents, and a mildly intriguing storyline provide comfort food for Hamish's many fans.