In the isolated villages in the north of Scotland, the villagers rely on the services of the chimney sweep, Pete Ray, and his old-fashioned brushes. Pete is always able to find work in the Scottish highlands, until the day that Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices blood dripping onto the floor of a villager's fireplace, and a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The entire town of Lochdubh is certain Pete is the culprit, but Hamish doesn't believe that the affable chimney sweep is capable of committing murder. Then Pete's body is found on the Scottish moors, and the mystery deepens. It's up to Hamish to discover who's responsible for the dirty deed--and this time, the murderer may be closer than he realizes.
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M. C. Beaton has won international acclaim for her bestselling Hamish Macbeth mysteries and the Agatha Raisin mystery series. She is also the author of more than one hundred romance titles and a series of romantic suspense novels, the Edwardian Mystery series. Born in Scotland, she now divides her time between Paris and the English Cotswolds.From Booklist:
The Scottish Highlands that Beaton depicts with such skill are beautiful and sinister, a fitting backdrop to her Hamish Macbeth series and especially to this one, her twenty-sixth craggy-cozy. The mystery centers in the tiny Highlands village of Drim, “a huddle of white-washed cottages” on the banks of a sea loch, where mountains rise up at water’s edge. There, the body of the posh new owner of a long-abandoned estate is found, stuffed up the chimney. The chimney sweep himself, who was to have been cleaning the estate chimney, is found dead on the motorway, an apparent accident victim, a few hours later. The local police feel the case is open and shut, with the chimney sweep tabbed as the murderer of the estate owner, until Constable Hamish Macbeth questions the findings, even of the forensics team. Someone has embarked on a spree, starting at the estate, and spreading to Edinburgh. Great stuff, as usual. --Connie Fletcher
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