10 August 2022


  •  this edition read on my Kindle (Amazon)
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08NTF1GH8
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Carpetless Publishing (December 19, 2020)
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 222 pages
  • Highlands & Islands Detective Book 9 

Synopsis (Amazon)

A dead Santa Claus in a garden centre grotto. Underground fighting in the dark corners of the Highlands. Can Macleod and McGrath discover who is dispatching the strongmen of the ring in such a festive fashion?

With Hope McGrath struggling to regain her confidence after a disfiguring injury, Macleod must encourage his protegee as they seek to discover the link between Grotto strangulations and an underground fighting promotion. But as the snow starts to fall and Yuletide celebrations turn sour, Macleod must look beyond the lights and fanciful characters to find the real murderer in their midst.

Ho-Ho-Ho! This time, Santa better watch out! 

My Take

This story is set in the north of Scotland near Inverness, but the author says is quick to say that the city has been used as an inspirational canvas and not to be confused with "actual buildings and structures".

In the previous case Hope McGrath was severely burned on the face by boiling oil and McLeod's partner Jane, already injured in a hit and run accident, was threatened by a maniac but was saved by McGrath. McGrath is very conscious of her disfigurement and believes everyone is looking at her.

In this case the team is called to a garden centre where a Santa has been killed. But the nature of the killing is unusual - he has been suffocated in a wrestling hold, and this discovery leads to a secondary case. It leads to DC Kirsten Stewart working undercover and also being put in danger.

I am really enjoying this series. The plots are inventive, sometimes at the bounds of credibility, but the exploration of the relationships between the main characters is very good.

My rating: 4.5

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