Hamish Macbeth must connive once more to keep his job policing his beloved village of Lochdubh.
Although the Highlands do not always welcome English arrivals, sweet, ladylike, wealthy Mrs. Gentle has been widely accepted. Only Hamish realizes that she is a snake in the grass working to close his station. When Mrs. Gentle discovers that the papers of her beautiful blonde employee Ayesha Tahir are not in order, she asks her to leave. In a weak moment, Hamish offers to marry Ayesha so she can stay in the U.K. Mrs. Gentle promises a wedding and a large cash gift, pledges Ayesha blackmails her into keeping. But Hamish is left standing at the altar when both Mrs. Gentle and Ayesha disappear. Investigation reveals that Ayesha was actually a high-class Russian prostitute who stole a passport to escape her Russian Mafia protector. After both women are found dead, Mrs. Gentle’s dry-eyed family become prime suspects, but they all have alibis, and a strange woman seen around town who seems like another suspect has vanished into thin air. Hamish must cope with an attractive Russian police inspector, both of his ex-girlfriends and the machinations of alcoholic, envious DCI Blair before he can close the case.
Hamish’s 23rd adventure (Death of a Maid, 2007, etc.) is one of his best, with the usual charming details of Highland life and a crackerjack mystery to boot.