The fourth novel in the popular Shetland Sailing Mysteries by Marsali Taylor.
Cass Lynch has been persuaded to spend Christmas in the Highlands with her friend DI Gavin Macrae, but their romantic walk by the loch is cut short when they find a skeleton among the bracken. Back home in Shetland, Cass hears about Ivor Hughson, who left his wife and failed business months ago, and hasn t been heard of since. A near-disaster aboard Cass s yacht suggests someone wants to stop her asking questions about his disappearance. Meanwhile, there are eerie reports of sightings of a njuggle, a Shetland water-horse which drowns curious passers-by. Soon it s taking Cass all her wits to stay alive
Marsali grew up near Edinburgh, Scotland. Her summer family holidays were spent in a remote cottage in the West Highlands, the region where her detective Gavin Macrae lives. Like her sailing heroine, Cass, she has always been used to boats, and used her 'gap year' earnings to buy her first sailing dinghy, Lady Blue. She studied English at Dundee University, did a year of teacher training and took up her first post, teaching English and French to secondary children in Aith, Shetland. Gradually her role expanded to doing drama too, and both primary and secondary pupils have won prizes performing her plays at the local Drama Festival. Some of these plays were in Shetlandic, the local dialect.
Marsali teaches dinghy sailing at her local club, and is a keen single-handed sailor in her Offshore 8 m yacht, Karima S - the double of Cass's Khalida.
A qualified STGA green badge tourist guide for Shetland, she now spends a good deal of her summer sharing her home with visitors from overseas. She is particularly interested in women's history, and has published Women's Suffrage in Shetland, two years' worth of original research. She followed this with The Story of Busta House, the romantic tale of the house which is the setting for part of Death on a Longship.
Marsali also writes for the monthly magazine Shetland Life - a mixture of travel writing, interviews, investigative journalism and historical research.