“A seamless blending of magic, mystery, and history…Glover’s worldbuilding, characters, and attention to historical detail create a delightfully genre-bending debut!”
—Tananarive Due, American Book Award winner, author of Ghost Summer: Stories
From a bold new voice in speculative fiction comes a vibrant historical fantasy of magic and murder set in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Hetty Rhodes and her husband, Benjy, were Conductors on the Underground Railroad, ferrying dozens of slaves to freedom with daring, cunning, and magic that draws its power from the constellations. With the war over, those skills find new purpose as they solve mysteries and murders that white authorities would otherwise ignore.
In the heart of Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward, everyone knows that when there’s a strange death or magical curses causing trouble, Hetty and Benjy are the only ones that can solve the case. But when an old friend is murdered, their investigation stirs up a wasp nest of intrigue, lies, and long-buried secrets- and a mystery unlike anything they handled before. With a clever, cold-blooded killer on the prowl testing their magic and placing their lives at risk, Hetty and Benjy will discover how little they really know about their neighbors . . . and themselves.
“An unforgettable debut ... Wholly original and thoroughly riveting.”
—Deanna Raybourn, New York Times best-selling author of A Murderous Relation
Inventively mixing mystery, magic, and alternate history, Glover's nail-biting debut takes readers to Reconstruction era Philadelphia. Henrietta "Hetty" and Benjamin "Benjy" Rhodes both adept at sigil magic that draws on the constellations are famed conductors for the Vigilance Society, which shepherded enslaved Black people to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Stories of their trips into the South are legendary in their Philadelphia community even a decade after the Civil War. Now, Hetty and Benjy use their magical and analytical skills as detectives, dealing with missing person cases, murders, and other crimes the white police force chooses to overlook. But when one of their friends turns up dead and their suspicions fall close to home, they'll need to work out who in their community is not who they say they are. The pace is relaxed but the tension steadily builds as Glover weaves each detail into a satisfying mystery. Frequent flashbacks to Hetty and Benjy's thrilling exploits as conductors on the Underground Railroad reveal how Hetty's tough choices during the Civil War led to her life today. Readers will be surprised but gratified by an ending that shows just how past actions inform the present in unexpected ways. Glover is a writer to watch.