When both his holiday plans and love affair collapse, London doctor Charles Mackinnon agrees to act as locum in Skye, looking forward to a peaceful stay. However, within hours of his arrival he witnesses someone being thrown off a distant cliff into the sea.
When the body of Jamie Gillespie is discovered in the water, the police remain sceptical of his report, and he begins to doubt what he saw. Then a pregnant, disabled woman disappears, and Charles finds himself drawn into a primitive ritual of superstition and violence.
So far behind the times is Scotland's misty, mountainous island of Skye, scene of this intriguing mystery, that doctors still make house calls and there hasn't been a murder in 100 years. Then London doctor Charles Mackinnon, whose father was born in Skye, arrives to fill in for Donald Tait, a local GP, and sees--or thinks he sees--one person toss another off a foggy cliff into the sea below. Police doubt the ``incomer'' until they find the body of Jamie Gillespie, an AIDS victim and former drug addict who, nearing death, had recently come home from Edinburgh. Days later a retarded girl, Mairi McPhee, whom Mackinnon had found to be pregnant, disappears and is later discovered on the mainland, dead. Mackinnon, who has fallen in love with the island, its legends and its history as a refuge for Bonnie Prince Charlie and as a base for smugglers, is also attracted to Kirsten, Tait's daughter and Mairi's benefactor. He starts a risky investigation into the motives of certain islanders, hoping to link the two deaths. The ending is mechanical but the novel as a whole is as tasty as single-malt whiskey. Londoner Grindal ( Death Stalk ), Scottish by birth, also writes as Richard Grayson.