By John Harwood
Published Jan 2010
‘Sell the Hall unseen; burn it to the ground and plough the earth with salt, if you will; but never live there.’ London, the 1880s. A young girl grows up in a household marked by death, her father distant, her mother in perpetual mourning for the child she lost. Desperate to coax her mother back to health, Constance Langton takes her to a séance. Perhaps they will find comfort from beyond the grave. But the séance has tragic consequences. Constance is left alone, her only legacy a mysterious bequest that will blight her life. So begins The Séance, John Harwood’s brilliant second novel, a gripping, dark mystery set in late Victorian England. It is a world of apparitions, of disappearances and unnatural phenomena, of betrayal and blackmail and black-hearted villains – and murder. For Constance’s bequest comes in two parts: a house, and a mystery. Years before, a family disappeared at Wraxford hall, a decaying mansion near the Suffolk coast. Now Constance must find out the truth behind the mystery, even at the cost of her life. What she discovers at the Hall, as she descends into the darkness at the heart of the mystery, will bring her face to face with her own deepest terrors and desires. The Séance is the work of a writer at the peak of his powers – chilling, page-turning and unforgettable.