31 July 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-7278-8814-3 (HB)
The request is of course not that straight forward. Historically a member of the Tulliver family is entitled to a seat on the school board. The current Tulliver is Olivia who sees it as her life’s work to get an opera written by her uncle Gustav included in the bicentenary programme. None of the other members agree, but Olivia is implying that if her request is not granted the funds for the Tulliver Scholarship may be reduced. All Phinn has to do is assess the opera, and as Phinn’s is highly regarded in his field, convince Olivia that it’s not a good idea. Well as Phinn discovers it has already been turned down by everyone of note – so simple. Then we meet Olivia who is definitely on the odd side and who still lives at Infanger Cottage, inherited from her uncle, a strange and eerie place only accessible along a narrow footpath that is both dark and gloomy and to which sunlight never reaches – so maybe not so simple!
Phinn is immediately fascinated by the school’s former incarnation and the odd legends relating to a group of nuns who disappeared over night more than 200 years ago. What happened to them has never been discovered and many myths have grown up as to their fate. On a visit to the old church Phinn sees a carving that disturbs him greatly as it depicts a macabre ritual.
The modern narration is interspersed with diary extracts from the 1790’s by a first-person unnamed narrator. And so, as Phinn delves into the history so slowly the plight of the missing nuns is revealed. But there are more sinister secrets closer to home to be discovered. And who was Ginevra, a shadowy figure about whom legend abounds?
Dark and atmospheric in this intriguing story there is mystery upon mystery. Although a sinister spine-chilling tale of medieval rituals, there are some wonderful light-hearted touches, and some marvellously well-developed characters. I loved it. And it is of course highly recommended.