Magic Dark and Strange

S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Dec. 2020. 208p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534466081.
Gr 7 Up–In a deserted cemetery, on the darkest of nights, Catherine Daly is digging up a grave. Awaiting the opening of the casket is a young man hoping to speak once again with his beloved sister. Catherine steps aside and, using a magical talisman, gives him the hour he hopes for. Catherine works by day as the obituary printer for the newspaper and is often tasked to provide such services by her boss. One afternoon, she is assigned to open an unmarked grave to find the magical timepiece rumored to be buried within. Wanting help to identify the piece, she invites Guy Nolan, the son of a watchmaker known to have his own magic. When they open the grave, however, there is no timepiece, and when Catherine uses her magic to temporarily awaken the young man buried there to question him, he instead comes to life. Young Owen has no memory of his former life, but his wounds suggest murder. When Catherine returns to her boss he accuses her of stealing the timepiece, leaving her, Owen, and Guy racing to find the item before it can be used for evil. While their search takes them from the darkest corners of the cemetery to the halls of the rich, they also look for answers regarding Owen’s identity, why he was murdered, and what connections they have to this timepiece and the magic it produces. Catherine and Owen are described as pale-skinned, and Guy has brown hair.
VERDICT Catherine, Owen, and Guy live in a world where magic intermixes with the dark reaches of greed, wealth, and the possibility of resurrecting the dead. Gothic in its texture and Dickensian in story, this will satisfy any mystery and magic reader.

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