Hamish Macbeth is savouring the delights of a Highland summer, but as fast as the rain rolls in from the loch his happy life goes to hell in a handbasket.
The trouble begins when his beloved Priscilla Halburton-Smythe returns to Lochdubh with a new fiancé on her arm. His miseries multiply when clouds of midges descend on the town. And then a paragon of housewife perfection named Trixie Thomas moves into Lochdubh with her cowed husband in tow.
The newcomer quickly convinces the local ladies to embrace low-cholesterol meals, ban alcohol and begin bird-watching. Soon the town's menfolk are up in arms and Macbeth must solve Lochdubh's newest crime - the mysterious poisoning of the perfect wife.
Constable Hamish Macbeth of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands returns to beguile readers in Beaton's fourth whodunit. With the arrival of Trixie and Paul Thomas from England, life in the tranquil village becomes chaotic, as brash Trixie establishes the Thomas house as headquarters for militant feminism. A ``perfect wife,'' Trixie subjugates her husband Paul and teaches the local women to follow her example. Obeying Trixie's dicta, the wives begin serving their spouses health food instead of ``harmful'' hearty meals, and campaign vigorously against smoking. It is no wonder that someone eventually murders Trixie; Hamish's problem is whittling down the number of suspects. As the pace of the merry tale quickens, gentle Hamish draws nearer to exposing the surprising killer whose motive is far different from what he expects. He is also gratified to find the male residents of Lochdubh admitting that they feel better--although not smoking and eating nutritiously--now that they are relieved of Trixie's domineering presence.