A serving girl vanishes in this mystery story set in sixteenth-century Scotland . . .
Elspet, a serving girl at the harbor inn, has been told for years by the inn’s owner, Walter Bone, that she is ugly and that no man will ever want her. Then, after years of being shut away from the world, she unexpectedly catches the attention of a young laborer and realizes she has been lied to all these years. She meets her lover in secret at the Lammas day fair, but her dalliances do not go unnoticed . . .
Now Hew Cullan finds himself retained by a man with a mind for murder. Walter Bone makes clear his intent to kill Elspet’s lover, and seeks Hew’s help to ensure his will is upheld when he is inevitably hanged for the act. But his jealousy has unexpected consequences. When Elspet disappears without a trace, several innocent fair-goers and patrons are dragged into a web of suspicion, rumor, and accusation. It falls to Hew to unravel the twisted threads and figure out the truth of the matter.
“McKay is to be congratulated for the continued quality and inventiveness of her tales.” —The National