Rosie Strange doesn't believe in ghosts or witches or magic. No, not at all. It’s no surprise therefore when she inherits the ramshackle Essex Witch Museum, her first thought is to take the money and run.
Still, the museum exerts a curious pull over Rosie. There’s the eccentric academic who bustles in to demand she help in a hunt for old bones, those of the notorious Ursula Cadence, a witch long since put to death. And there’s curator Sam Stone, a man about whom Rosie can’t decide if he’s tiresomely annoying or extremely captivating. It all adds up to looking like her plans to sell the museum might need to be delayed, just for a while.
Finding herself and Sam embroiled in a most peculiar centuries-old mystery, Rosie is quickly expelled from her comfort zone, where to her horror, the secrets of the past come with their own real, and all too present, danger as a strange magic threatens to envelope them all.
British author Moore (Witch Hunt) inaugurates a promising supernatural thriller trilogy with this suspenseful novel introducing unlikely sleuth Rosie Strange. Rosie, a benefits fraud investigator, has an unusual inheritance to deal with: the Great Essex Witch Museum, which her grandfather founded to preserve the history of a part of England that was a hotbed for accusations of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries. Rosie visits the museum only to get a sense of the property's value and to advise the staff that it will be put on the market as soon as possible. But George Chin, a university professor and expert on early modern English, upsets those plans when he shows up at the museum with an odd request. The academic offers Rosie and Sam Stone, the curator, a substantial reward if they can find the remains of Ursula Cadence, an accused witch from centuries ago who may be responsible for the demonic possession of an eight-year-old boy who has been in a coma since falling out of a tree. Moore deftly integrates a romantic subplot into the paranormal story line.