Edgar Award Finalist

A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead - and to try and identify their killers - in this beguiling new tale from the queen of Gothic fiction, Laura Purcell


As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another... Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back.
Edgard Award Finalist - Best Paperback Novel

"Fans of gothic fiction will devour this." —Publishers Weekly

"Purcell is fast establishing herself as the doyenne of gothic mystery, and this positively oozes uncanny menace . Niftily plotted and deftly researched, it's one to read with the lights blazing and the door bolted." ― Mail on Sunday (London)

"A clever and well-researched novel with a good twist, and it shows the nightmare of life for single women of limited means in the 19th century." ― Literary Review (London)


"Dripping with atmosphere with a corkscrew plot, Laura Purcell just gets better and better." -- Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars and The Foundling

"It's her best one yet and that's saying something. A story of a woman haunted in every way possible, I think it's a future gothic classic." -- Martyn Waites

"There are ghosts, ghouls and ghastly goings on aplenty in the tale of Agnes Darken . There are some spine-chilling moments in this twisty tale, and fans of murder mystery and gothic fiction will love getting lost in Agnes and Pearl's spooky world."― Daily Mirror (London)

"Darkly addictive and utterly compelling. Reading Laura's books is like watching a horror movie where you have to keep hiding behind a cushion because you dread what is coming next, but you simply have to find out!" -- Ruth Hogan

"Every bit as brilliant as I knew it would be. The writing has all the gothic creepiness that only Laura can summon, with characters as darkly ambiguous as the silhouettes themselves. It truly kept me guessing to the very last page." -- Sonia Velton

"Beautifully eerie . Laura Purcell's brilliance is in showing you a place and a time you think is familiar, and making every atom of it uncanny - and in The Shape of Darkness, she does it better than ever." -- Natasha Pulley

"The latest spooky page-turner from Laura Purcell ... Not one to read alone at night, Purcell weaves an eerie web of complex family relationships that she slowly unwinds as her characters attempt to separate illusion from reality ... Genuinely spine-tingling." ― Herald (London)

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