More than a century after some notable evildoing, an old dark house continues to cast frightening shadows upon its new owner.
Benedict Doyle dreads his upcoming visit to the North London house he's set to inherit on his 21st birthday, weeks away. Orphaned as a child when his parents died in a car crash, he was raised by his brisk Aunt Lyn and harbors memories of the house, called Holly Lodge, haunted by his great-grandfather. Fortunately, Benedict's stalwart cousin, Nina, is on hand to support and motivate him. Nina's friend Nell West, an experienced antiques dealer (Property of a Lady, 2011, etc.), has inventoried the contents of Holly Lodge and senses that they may include ghosts. Following a flashback to the 1890s that presents great-grandfather Declan Doyle and his sidekick, Colm Rourke, the tale thereafter jumps back and forth in time. Benedict knows Declan as the Mesmer Murderer, a tamer successor to Jack the Ripper, but the reader meets him as a vibrant young man seeking adventure. Together, Declan and Colm pursue the dark mystery of Nicholas Sheehan, a devout priest driven for some unknown reason to a hermetic exile. When Nell meets Benedict, she's unnerved to see his eyes abruptly change color. She decides to keep this observation from her close friend Michael, whose discovery of writings from the time, by a servant girl and an abbot respectively, add another dimension to the story.
Rayne's 10th keeps suspense simmering with controlled, intelligent prose and a provocative weave of haunted yarns that sort themselves out in their own eerily attenuated time.