Crime, punishment, justice.
The Taxidermist’s Daughter
Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway.
Standing alone is the taxidermist’s daughter. At 17, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it is all that is left of Gifford’s once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The stuffed animals that used to grace every parlour are out of fashion, leaving Gifford a disgraced and bitter man.
The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hand pick up a flint. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead.
While the village braces itself against rising waters and the highest tide of the season, Connie struggles to discover who is responsible, but finds herself under suspicion. Is Constantia who she seems – is she the victim of circumstances or are more sinister forces at work? And what is the secret that lies at the heart of Gifford House, hidden among the bell jars of her father’s workshop?
Told over one summer, THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER is the haunting new novel from the bestselling author of LABYRINTH, SEPULCHRE, CIDADEL and THE WINTER GHOSTS.
A book of lies, secrets and taxidermy – an engaging read. Kate Mosse is a great story teller. This book, sited in 1912 is mysterious and atmospheric and cleverly captures the essence of village life at the time; superstitious, male centred, where money can buy almost anything except redemption.
This is a book told from multiple perspectives, predominantly that of Connie who had an accident when she was twelve years old and since has had memory issues. Slowly as the pages turn, Connie starts recollecting small parts of the traumatic event that preceded her loss of memory. This is a narrative of many revelations, scattered with transcriptions from Mrs R Lee’s “Taxidermy: Or the Art of Collecting, Preparing and Mounting Objects of Natural History”, excerpts that foretell the gory demise of the victims in this book.
If you like historical fiction, a strong female protagonist, a hint of ghosts and ghouls and superstition peppered with some very gory murders then this book is for you.