In dark, wintry Lochdubh, Christmas Cheer is about as welcome as a flat tyre on a deserted road. The Calvinist element in town has always resisted what they view as secular frivolity, so for most of the townsfolk there'll be no carols, feasting, gifts - or even whisky on Christmas Day!
And for PC Hamish Macbeth there's no holiday from crime - he finds himself hunting for a missing cat belonging to a lonely spinster. Curt and unfriendly, the woman is convinced her pet has been stolen but once behind her heavily-bolted door, Hamish can spot her true problem - she lives in fear, though of who or what he cannot guess.
Then someone steals a Christmas tree and lights from the nearby village of Cnothan. So it is up to Hamish to sort all these problems out - and he had better do it quickly, for the church bells will soon peal on the eve of Christmas.
This one-off standalone story is a special Christmas treat for all fans of Hamish Macbeth and can be read at any point in the ongoing series.
Praise for the Hamish Macbeth series:
'First rate ... deft social comedy and wonderfully realized atmosphere.' Booklist
'It's always a treat to return to Lochdubh.' New York Times
'Readers will enjoy the quirks and unique qualities of the cast ... Beaton catches the beauty of the area's natural geography and succinctly describes its distinct flavour.' Library Journal
'Befuddled, earnest and utterly endearing, Hamish makes his triumphs sweetly satisfying.' Publishers Weekly
M.C. Beaton is the author of both the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series, as well as numerous Regency romances. Her Agatha Raisin books are currently being turned into a TV series on Sky. She lives in Paris and in a Cotswold village that is very much like Agatha's beloved Carsely.