Takes place in September and October 1602.
The author says this is a novel of detection and the supernatural. It's about the Chelmsford Horror. In Chelmsford, a town in Essex, England, over two hundred men and women were hanged for witchcraft in the days of Elizabeth I.
Constable Matthew Stock has no love of hangings. Nor did his good wife Joan. But, on a fine October day, Matthew watched Simms, the hangman, string up three people.: on a farmer and the father of six; another a simple-minded young man who, drunkenly, has spoken ill of the Queen; and the third, Ursula Tusser, a small, frightened, very young woman--a girl, really, at whom the crowd screamed, "Confess, confess," because they knew she was a witch and damned.
Ursula was seemingly dead--but her ghost would not rest. The town of Chelmsford soon seemed inhabited by evil spirits. And more witches. Matthew Stock sought to quell the rising terror--to calm his fellow townsmen and women. But could the law stop the town's frenzy--and stranger and stranger happenings from occurring? [adapted from the jacket]