A woman found dead in her burning home was last night described as a popular well-known face in the village.
Firefighters were called to a cottage in Braemar early yesterday, and found Elmore Mitchell inside.
The 55-year-old, who used to run a cafe in the village with her late husband, could not be saved.
Throughout the day, fire and police officers could be seen examining the scene at Kindrochit Drive to establish what caused the blaze, which was reported at about 6.10am.
Despite the tragic outcome, the property did not appear badly damaged although a white sheet blocked off the porch and front rooms.
It is believed Mrs Mitchell had three children, but lived alone after her husband Graeme died of a heart attack last March.
The couple used to run The Old Bakery Cafe in the village, but Mrs Mitchell gave it up after the death of her husband.
Her family were too upset to comment last night but shocked residents paid tribute to the grandmother-of-three.
One man, who did not want to be named, said: “I often saw her out and about in Braemar, she was very well-known and popular in the village.
“The loss of her husband seemed to hit her really hard because it was so sudden.
“She gave up running the cafe and she wasn’t seen out and about as much, she became more of a private person after that.”
Another man said Mrs Mitchell’s death would affect many people within the village.
“Everyone knew Mrs Mitchell, she was really popular,” he said.
“Any loss is a sad one in a close community like this but this is particularly sad because it will strike a chord with a lot of
people because she was so well-known.”
An investigation into the fire is ongoing, however there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.
Inspector David Hoyle said: “Inquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing alongside the fire service.
“At this early stage there does not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.
“As with all incidents of this nature a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
He offered his sympathies to the Mitchell family and the wider community in Braemar.
He added: “Our thoughts are obviously with the family and friends of Elmore at this very sad time.
“I would like to thank the local community for their patience while emergency services attended this tragic incident.”
Councillor Peter Argyle added: “It’s an absolutely terrible thing to happen and my heart goes out to the family and friends of Mrs Mitchell.
“It’s an awful thing to happen and Braemar is a very close-knit community and I know that people there are feeling the loss very, very strongly.”