Stabbed and stuffed in a closet...
When police constable Hamish Macbeth receives the news that there has been a murder at Arrat House, home of the relentless practical joker Arthur Trent, he doesn't race to the scene of the crime. After all, last time he was called to investigate a death at the isolated Scottish manor, the 'victim' turned out to be Trent's manservant covered in fake blood.
Thus prepared for another prank, Hamish arrives to find that Trent has been most decidedly murdered and for suspects there is a houseful of greedy relatives, all of whom are more than interested in the contents of the will rather than the crime at hand. And when the Chief Inspector arrives on the scene and his former flame, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, gets involved as well, Hamish quite clearly has his hands full.
Scottish constable Hamish Macbeth, following Death of a Gossip in his seventh case, once again nails a murderer despite the crude bullying and dim detecting of his nemesis and superior, Chief Detective Inspector Blair. Wealthy local Andrew Trent, notorious for practical jokes that have far exceeded short-sheeted beds and whoopee cushions, has summoned his would-be heirs to his northern mansion with the false announcement that he has only a short time left to live. Braving the Highlands winter are his adopted son and his TV-star fiancee, two spinster daughters, his brother (with his brittle wife) and his scientist stepson (with his punk, pink-haired girlfriend and colleague). After Andrew is murdered in a prank that backfires, Macbeth wends his way through a tangle of family squabbles and secrets. Another murder and an attempt on a third victim follow in this readable tale that doesn't, however, bear close scrutiny. Illogic abounds and the final confession is precipitated by a wild coincidence.