A tart with a heart of stone...
Maggie Baird is neither kind or generous, but she is very, very rich. So when her car catches fire, with her inside it, there are five likely candidates for the role of murderer. All five had been houseguests at her luxurious Highlands home - Maggie's timid niece and four former lovers, one of whom Maggie had intended to pick for a husband.
All five are utterly broke and all had ample opportunity to tamper with Maggie's car. So finding out who did it will require all of PC Hamish Macbeth's extraordinary common sense and insight into human nature; especially when the killer appears to be the wrong person entirely...
The Scottish village of Lochdubh has a problem: the beloved police constable, Hamish Macbeth ( Death of a Perfect Wife ), has been transferred to Strathbane because of a dearth of local crime. In a successful bid to get him back, the villagers, led by newcomer Maggie Baird, organize a crime wave. On his return, Hamish is confronted with a possible murder. Maggie, who in younger and slimmer years had amassed a fortune as a well-rewarded kept woman, dies, ostensibly of a heart attack during a car fire. Suspects include her niece and heir, Alison, who had been living with Maggie after recuperating from lung cancer, and four of Maggie's former lovers and present suitors, whom she had invited for a visit: an ad man, a car salesman, a manager of a gambling club and a fading pop singer, all of them in dire need of money. Hamish draws on his knowledge of the local people and of human nature to solve the case. Meanwhile he continues his off-again, on-again romance with a daughter of the local gentry and attempts to stay out of hot water with his superiors, who resent his unpredictable approach to life and policing. Beaton's newest continues one of the finest, and most offbeat, police procedural series around.