by M.C. Beaton
St. Martin's Press, 1987
Second in the Hamish Macbeth series.
Priscilla Halburton-Smythe is engaged to be married to Henry Withering, a successful London playwright. Her delighted parents decide to throw a house party in his honour and are besieged with phone calls from people who want to be included. Thus, a motley assortment is gathered, including Captain Peter Bartlett, the "cad" of the book's title.
It comes as no surprise when Bartlett winds up dead, the result of an apparent hunting accident. Enter our hero, local bobby, Hamish Macbeth, who also happens to be more than half in love with Miss Halburton-Smythe herself. Hamish outwits his superiors when he discovers the killing was no accident, but murder.
Several suspects present themselves. Bartlett endeared himself to noone with his boorish ways and penchant for casual sex. Hamish must discern which of the house guests, or an outsider, brought about the Captain's untimely demise.
Beaton has created a very charming hero in Macbeth, and the reader cheers him on - both in his investigations and in his attempts to woo Priscilla, whose wealthy parents consider him beneath contempt.