AN ACCUSATION of infidelity will forever more haunt Niamh Macfarlane as the last thing shouted at her late husband Ruairidh (‘Rory’) before he was killed in a car bombing in central Paris. With him in the vehicle at the time was his alleged lover, Russian clothing designer Irina Vetrov.
Niamh had first learned of the affair only a couple of days before Rory’s death, shattering the faith she had always had in the strength of their supposedly rock-solid combined personal and business partnership.
Now she is a widow, returning with his remains from France to the Isle of Lewis and Harris in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.
It is there, in a tiny hamlet facing the wind-churned, brutal North Sea, that the Macfarlanes had established their own traditional cloth-weaving operation, Ranish Tweed. With their product keenly sought-after in the world of high fashion, Niamh and Rory had crafted for themselves a seemingly idyllic lifestyle based in a stunningly beautiful home on an isolated headland outside the tiny capital, Stornoway.
The one downside for the seemingly happy young couple had always been the barely contained antagonism keeping their two families apart. With Rory gone, Niamh is torn more than ever between her openly warring relatives and in-laws.
Against this backdrop of uncertainty, French detective Sylvie Braque arrives in Lewis and Harris to investigate the explosion for which Irina’s now-missing husband Georgy is being held provisionally responsible.
But is Georgy Vetrov really the only credible suspect? Could tensions either within the closely bonded island community or stemming from a commercial deal turned sour be behind Rory’s death instead?
In partnership with local police officer George Gunn, the Frenchwoman sets to work scrutinising every aspect of the Macfarlanes’ movements leading up to the killing – but despite its modest dimensions, Lewis and Harris is surprisingly adept at maintaining secrets.