Arabella Holmes—yes, daughter of that Holmes—wants to return to her job as a purveyor of abnormal science. She has temporarily been demoted to a botanist, until her love interest, Henry Watson—yes, that Watson—can help her get her less-than-professional outbursts in check.
Henry is tired of his new role as doctor, tired of the lack of adventure, and tired of keeping Bella's escapades out of the papers.
Five girls are missing. Gone from locked rooms in their own houses. Arabella and Henry are called upon to help solve the kidnappings, but all they unearth is more danger.
Bella ventures undercover into a lunatic asylum, where a mute woman assaults her and scrawls the chilling words—Here the dead wake. Plus, a vial of Bella's research poison has gone missing. Bella and Henry must find it, and the missing girls, before charges can be brought against her.