Beautiful music lulls and lures the unsuspecting listener to the brink of danger and the secret of a century-old crime.
Antiques dealer Nell West has been hired to evaluate the contents of her late husband Brad's childhood home, Stilter House. Besides fueling her professional interest in the remote Derbyshire Peaks home, the assignment also provides an opportunity to give her young daughter, Beth, a clearer picture of her father. Nell scarcely worries about gossip that the house is haunted, though given her recent adventures (The Sin Eater, 2012, etc.), she has reason to. Inside Stilter, Nell faintly hears piano music and assumes that Beth has been playing, but the keyboard is securely locked. Meanwhile, Nell's lover, Michael Flint, who must wait until the end of term at Oriel College to join her, receives an agitated phone call from elderly Emily West warning that Nell and Beth mustn't spend the night at Stilter. Even if he took this warning seriously, it wouldn't matter, since Nell has no phone service there. As she looks through the house, she finds various papers—letters, court statements, diary entries—that offer information about servants abruptly leaving after only one day of work, the eerie music she'd heard and, worst of all, a series of unspeakable crimes against children. Armed with greater understanding, Michael joins his lover at Stilter. But will he be too late to help?
Rayne's third Nell West ghost story perfects the craft of deftly chosen details, simmering suspense and chilling surprises, all woven into a quiet, elegant narrative.