A barmaid’s curse, experimental ice-cream flavours and a glut of Chinese lanterns – what exactly is causing the mass insanity in sleepy Mardow-by-Sea?
Mardow-by-Sea is a town in quiet crisis. Nothing has changed in sixty years, except a dwindling in the numbers of holiday-makers coming to spend the summer.
A barmaid’s curse – that town residents might one day follow their own minds instead of living by committee rule – comes to fruition after she is murdered in the castle grounds of her lover, Lord Belafry, and people unwittingly find themselves acting on their inner voices.
When a harmless tea-dance spirals out of control, spilling into the streets in a debauched carnival that seemingly has no end, it becomes clear there are darker forces at work in Mardow-by-Sea. A prophetic vagrant and a rebellious owl seem to have the answers, but can Aelita – hired to promote the resort – decipher their clues and save the town before she too succumbs to the madness?