Did the house do it?
Over a century ago, 13 Torland Place, Eborby, North Yorkshire, housed five dead bodies. Despite his protestations of innocence, Obediah Shrowton was judged guilty and put to death. Ever since, the house has seemed, well, inhospitable. Even worse, a pair of girls went missing from a wood behind the house 12 years back, and the current tenants, four student roommates, have been squabbling ever since they moved in. When one of them, Petulia Ferribie, turns up dead, DI Joe Plantagenet and DCI Emily Thwaite (Playing with Bones, 2009, etc.) must decide where to put the blame: on the house or on a more corporeal suspect. Among their human choices are a governmental nabob with nefarious ties to the long-missing girls; the landlord, who has a gruesomely dead sister lurking in his history; and the couple next door, who share sexual proclivities best not discussed in polite company and a penchant for skulking around in attics. Further complications include a batch of dead women whose killer also mutilated them in ways that deprived them each of a different sense: touch, hearing, taste, smell. Thwaite must balance her investigating with family time while Plantagenet must deal with his dead wife’s sister, who accuses him of murdering her. Before all comes to a rousing if not exactly convincing climax, an exorcist will be called in, that sister-in-law will be abducted and archives housed in a tome covered in human skin will pop up.
Lots of grisly bits, but still fits comfortably within cozy confines.