Although this is Ellis' latest DI Wesley Peterson installment in a long ongoing series, it can be read just fine as a stand alone. It was not a gripping mystery/police procedural story until about 3/4 the way through when tension finally rose due to the danger to one of the characters. This story is set in England where an abandoned manor house, the site of past murders, is being renovated when a skull and bones are found on the property. This story is swirling with characters, each with their own back story which is described in minute detail with quips and small talk among the characters. There was an architect, laborers and a dodgy project manager on the reno site; an archaeologist and forensic archaeologist responsible for examining the dug up bones; an imprisoned serial murderer who had been convicted of murdering 4 female teens at the site; a female activist for wrongly imprisoned men; a group of community actors who were rehearsing a murder play when one of them gets killed; a burglarized senior by a con team later murdered; an imposter grandson; the detective team and their relationships on the job and at home. Even the house is a character with its own back story given in diary entries scattered throughout the novel. At times, these entries were more fascinating than the present day activities as the diarist describes a murder that occurred in the late 1600s and the villagers' belief in the walking dead. The author has many opportunities to create red herrings for her present day DI team and her readers as they mutually discover that both male and female suspects have had different names in their past which then opens up the motives for murder.