DCI Andy Gilchrist of the Fife Constabulary’s Crime Management Department is targeted for revenge.
When the first body part and a note screaming “Murder” appears by the 17th green on St. Andrews’ Old Course, DCI Andy Gilchrist becomes the lead investigator. He is appalled to learn that Ronnie Watts, whom he beat almost to death for seducing his teenage daughter, Maureen, years back, has also been assigned to the case. When more of the victim is discovered on the 16th fairway, Gilchrist has a horrifying suspicion whom the body parts belong to: his sculptor son Jack’s girlfriend, Chloe. This time there’s a note proclaiming “Massacre.” By the time the next body part, branded with the word “Bludgeon,” is discovered, Gilchrist knows he’s being personally engaged by the dismemberer, a fact borne out when his daughter goes missing. Stopovers at the pub, nightmares and waking feelings of helplessness almost defeat him, but with collegial and erotic assists from DS Nancy “Nance” Wilson, Gilchrist begins to make sense of the ties among Chloe and Maureen, the men in their lives and the vendetta set in motion by an incarcerated psychosadist named Bully who may be released in two years. As Chloe’s decapitated head is tossed in a car boot along with the much-debased Maureen, Gilchrist scrambles to decipher meanings hidden in Burns’ poems by the main villain. The trail leads him and Nance to the Auld Aisle Cemetery in time to find a casket filled with drug loot—and perhaps in time to save his daughter and confront Ronnie once more.
Muir’s second engagement for the divorced Gilchrist (Eye for an Eye, 2008) rests several rungs down from Rankin and Harvey but is still fairly high up on the Scottish police procedural scale.