Sussex - 1912
In a remote village near the English coast, residents gather in a misty churchyard. It is St. Mark’s Eve, when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to walk.
Alone in the crowd is Constantia Gifford, the taxidermist’s daughter. Twenty-two and unmarried, she lives with her father on the fringes of town, in a decaying mansion cluttered with the remains of his once world-famous museum of taxidermy. No one speaks of why the museum was shuttered or how the Giffords fell so low. Connie herself has no recollection—a childhood accident erased all memory of her earlier days. The locals shun Blackthorn House and the strange spinster who practices her father’s macabre art.
As the last peal of the midnight bell fades to silence, a woman is found dead—a stranger Connie noticed near the church. In the coming days, snippets of long-lost memories begin to surface, offering Connie glimpses of her vanished years. Who is the victim? Why has her death affected Connie so deeply? Why is her house watched by a mysterious figure who has suddenly appeared on the marsh nearby? Is her father trying to protect her with his silence? The answers are tied to a dark secret that lies at the heart of Blackthorn House, hidden among the bell jars of her father’s workshop—a mystery that draws Connie closer to danger . . . closer to madness . . . closer to the startling truth.
Atmospheric and suffused with horror, The Taxidermist’s Daughter is a stunning novel showcasing the strong women, dynamic action, and suspenseful intrigue that have won Kate Mosse legions of fans all over the world.
“Glossy as a crow’s wing. Sure as a surgeon’s scalpel. I bloody loved it.”—Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
“The Taxidermist’s Daughter is amazing—atmospheric, gripping. . . . I can’t put it down.”—Marian Keyes, author of This Charming Man
“I loved the atmosphere: the time, the place, the weather, the cold. An unholy collision of Daphne du Maurier and Agatha Christie.”—Anthony Horowitz, creator and writer of Foyle’s War
“[A] classic tale of marshland murder and madness. . . . The strength of this book lies as much in the startling imagery and atmospheric description as it does in the story. . . . A deliciously dark novel that races towards its grotesque conclusion.”—Daily Express (UK)
Kate Mosse is the author of the international mega-bestsellers Labyrinth, Citadel, and Sepulchre, with sales of more than five million copies in forty-two languages. A publisher for many years, she is also cofounder and chair of the board of the prestigious Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize). She lives in Sussex, England.