A toothache can drive a man mad - or to Dr. Frederick Gilchrist's dental surgery in the little village of Braikie. In a country where thrift and a "nice set of dentures" are admired, Dr. Gilchrist's cheap rates and penchant for pulling teeth had gained him a clientele. His use of "The Great Australian Trench" (letting the drill slide across as many teeth as possible to ensure a steady customer) and some unsavory womanizing made wiser Highlanders stay away from the dentist's second-floor office. But one chill autumn morning the whole side of Police Constable Hamish Macbeth's jaw was a burning mass of pain, and he was willing to see Gilchrist, or the devil himself, to stop it. Unfortunately someone came, saw, and poisoned Gilchrist first. It was Macbeth's dismal luck to find the body. He already had his hands full with a major theft case. And he had his mind on a date, the first since his broken engagement to Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. Now he sourly set out to turn his attention to finding a killer. Perhaps only in superstitious Scotland would Macbeth's inquiries include the local seer, who had inside information to share (from the spirits, naturally). Perhaps only Macbeth would see a clue in the earthy details of daily life - not to mention facing a fate just as earthy in its own way.