The sunlit rails gleamed like dark mercury, arteries branching out silver from the switch points; the old telegraph poles were shaggy with kudzu and Virginia creeper and, above them, rose the water tower, its surface all washed out by the sun. Harriet, cautiously, stepped towards it in the weedy clearing. Around and around it she walked, around the rusted metal legs. One day is never, ever discussed by the Cleve family. The day that nine-year-old Robin was found hanging by the neck from a tree in their front garden. Twelve years later the family are no nearer to uncovering the truth of what happened to him. Inspired by Houdini and Robert Louis Stevenson, twelve-year-old Harriet sets out to find her brother's murderer — and punish him. But what starts out as a child's game soon becomes a dangerous journey into the menacing underworld of a small Mississippi town.
Some of this was accurate; some of it was not; a good bit of it no one had any way of knowing, but when the Cleves chose to agree on some subjective matter it became—automatically and quite irrevocably—the truth, without any of them being aware of the collective alchemy which had made it so
This was Harriet’s greatest obsession, and the one from which all the others sprang. For what she wanted—more than Tribulation, more than anything—was to have her brother back. Next to that, she wanted to find out who killed him.