In the week before Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, an exhausted Gianetta
Drury takes a break from modelling clothes for designer Hugo Montefior
and flees the gathering crowds in London for the lonely Isle of
Sky. Her holiday will prove to be anything but restful.
No sooner does Gianetta arrive at the Camasunary Hotel, than she
discovers that her ex-husband is also a guest. This disturbing
news is followed by worse: sixteen-year-old Heather Macrae was
murdered only a few days before on the slopes of Blaven. The
feeling at the hotel is that the murder was the work of a madman;
Heather’s body was laid on a funeral pyre and her murderer danced in
front of it.
Most of the guests at the hotel are there to fish or to climb the
mountains that brood over the hotel. There are two writers among
the guests: the genial Hubert Hay and Nicholas Drury, Gianetta’s
novelist ex-husband. Actress Marcia Maling is also there and
provides the predictable sort of intrigue among the susceptible
males. Ronald Beagle, who once tried to climb Everest, is chief
among the climbers, along with Roderick Grant, who is a native of the
highlands, and Marion Bradford and Roberta Symes, a pair of holidaying
The climbers at the hotel follow the radio reports of the attempt to
conquer Mount Everest as earnestly as the preparations for the
coronation when they are not scrambling over the rocks
themselves. However, climbing is particularly dangerous when
there is a murderer walking the hills. When Marion and Roberta
fail to return from a climb one evening, a desperate search begins
which ends in tragedy and a resolution to the mystery.
The atmosphere of menace is compounded of the brooding mountains
towering over the hotel, the grey mist and rain, hints of insanity, and
the certainty that the killer must either be a guest of the hotel or a
resident of the small local community. The killer’s penchant for
ritual fire and dance is chilling.
When coronation day finally dawns, the murderer is caught and the
mystery explained. Gianetta is finally able to rest when the sun
finally shines again on Camasunary.