Peta Gore is the latest in M.C. Beaton's gallery of grotesques created specifically for a speedy demise. Co-founder of the Checkmate Singles Club but now its major embarrassment, Peta gatecrashes the romantic week arranged at Tommel Castle Hotel for eight of its members. What hope have they now for gently developing romance with her in their midst, gargantuan and guzzling? Despairing fellow co-founder Maria Worth tries frantically to limit the damage....
In due course Peta is found face up in a quarry, an apple rammed into her mouth. Suspects abound - not only the love hopefuls whose plans she exoceted, but volatile chef Sean whom she so enraged that he subsequently served her a casserole of wild cat.
Lochdubh's Hamish Macbeth investigates, he with romantic problems of his own - relationships strained between him and Priscilla. Sadly the case this time seems somewhat lacklustre, it hard to become particularly interested. Hamish solves it of course (when was it otherwise?), but by using tactics not to his credit - as he himself admits.
The series has become a tad predictable, this eighth entry not amongst the best. A surprise development at the very end may provide a welcome shot in the arm for the next novel.
By the way, there is one reason to celebrate. At long last, Priscilla stands up to her appalling father and gives him a devastating piece of her mind. Should HE be the victim in a sequel, many readers may applaud - provided Priscilla does not turn out to be the culprit.