Guests of a quaint English countryside inn disappear over the course of an evening, to be replaced by ominous voices in the inn’s walls. Is it a curse or an illusion?
Ishmael Jones has taken his partner, Penny Belcourt, on a weekend getaway to enjoy Cornwall as a normal couple might, even though Ishmael and Penny are anything but normal. Ishmael is an alien imbued with special strengths, skills, and sensitivities but able to live among humans, and Penny, though not an alien, is one tough cookie. Ishmael’s abilities make him a perfect fit for high-level security, and a weekend off with Penny seems like just the relaxing break he needs from his stressful job. The two have been invited to celebrate Albert and Olivia Calvert’s renovation of Tyrone’s Castle Inn. The inn’s troubled history involves Elliot Tyrone poisoning guests at a Christmas meal, then claiming he was only acting on instructions from “Voices.” Since then, other reported murders have been linked to the voices, and the inn is widely considered cursed. Now that Albert and Olivia have lovingly restored the place to its former glory, they’re showing it off to Ishmael, Penny, and several other guests as a prelude to returning it to its original function. Before Olivia can serve dessert, however, she mysteriously vanishes, and it isn’t long before the Calverts’ guests are hearing echoes of voices in the hallways. Ishmael, who’s well-acquainted with the differences between legend and logic (Death Shall Come, 2017, etc.), believes there must be an earthly reason for Olivia’s disappearance and tries to keep the dinner party calm. His efforts fall on deaf ears as the partygoers are picked off one by one, leaving Ishmael and Penny to determine whether the curse is real or there’s a real-world motive for the mystery.
As usual in Green's books (Death Shall Come, 2017, etc.), there’s a long buildup that just might be supernatural paired with a brief conclusion that tells all. Think Scooby Doo starring a superpowered alien in human skin.