A guest at the opening of a Shetland Isles art exhibition breaks down in tears as everyone else looks on in embarrassed horror. Jimmy Perez, on his first real date with one of the artists, Fran Hunter, helps the man to his feet, feeling it is his duty as a policeman to do so. The man, who is English, claims to have no memory of who he is or why he is there. Perez thinks that it has something to do with the light, the fact that the sun never quite slips below the horizon even at midnight. Here in the Shetlands they call it the 'simmer dim'. Everyone in the Shetlands goes a little crazy at this time of year. In the morning, though, the Englishman is found dead, hanging from the rafters of a fisherman's hut.
Who is the mysterious southerner? Why was he found with a clown's mask over his face? Why had he tried to ruin the art exhibition opening? More importantly, who strangled him and then tried to make the death look like a suicide? There are so many questions, but one thing is certain: there is a killer at large in the small island community of Biddista, and unless they are tracked down soon they will surely strike again.
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