Returning from holiday Hamish becomes unaccountably worried - it's as if he senses a dark cloud of evil hanging over Lochdubh. He soon learns that there is a newcomer to the village, a woman called Catriona Beldame, and that the villagers have decided she is a witch. At first Hamish is charmed by her, but is dismayed when he finds out she's been supplying dangerous potions to certain local people.
No one seems willing to listen to his warnings and when she is found murdered, poor Hamish is the prime suspect. Obviously, he must solve the murder to clear his own name and bring contentment back to his beloved Lochdubh.
Please take the aversion to sex of Highlanders and Islanders, often featured in this series, but especially here, as poetic licence, or perhaps the result of Thatcherian poisoning! My northern ancestors seemed to have no difficulty in producing multiple offspring, in spite of the Free Kirk, and some babies "were brought forth in fornication", as Parish Records reported, but were not rejected but absorbed into the extended family- if it was not possible to marry till late (set up home, no space in a but and ben- shared beds) , sometimes young folk found their own entertainment, or maybe just found a way to keep warm...aided by the old Scots custom of courtship by "bundling"- look it up!
As always, David Monteath gives an amazing narration, which plays a large part in my continued enjoyment of this series- certainly I would not have had time to read them in print- but now that "Tartan noir" is becoming as brutal as an abattoir I am more at ease with old-fashioned murder mysteries, especially when only unpleasant folk get killed, rather than the innocent...