M. C. Beaton returns with another baffling case for Hamish Macbeth, the stubborn, red-haired, one-man police department of the Highland village of Lochdubh.
Hamish Macbeth's unofficial engagement to the stunningly beautiful Priscilla Halburton-Smythe is reminding the constable of the old adage about answered prayers. His lovely fiancée has replaced his cozy wood stove with a modern electric one and is busy trying to "make a man of him." The only man Hamish wants to be is the one who wanders about the village with his dog Towser, gossiping, fishing, and deftly solving a crime or two.
Deciding that this may be a good time for a little retreat, Hamish ambles over to the nearby backwater of Drim, ostensibly to check out a posh English chap who is causing a most unusual problem. Single, wealthy, and terribly attractive, newcomer Peter Hynd has thrown the middle-aged matrons of Drim into a flutter and put their men, dour Highlanders whose feelings run deep, on a slow burn. Hamish's instincts tell him this seemingly charming young man likes to stir up trouble, and it's not long before the seething emotions transform the sleepy village into a hotbed of threats, domestic rows, and violent murder.
With Hamish's own relationship raising doubts about hearts and flowers, he's more than ready to do what he now must: investigate the darker side of love.