Kate Mosse's novel The Taxidermist's Daughter came out in paperback last month, and I should have flagged it then, but better late than never.
It's a gothic thriller set on the Sussex coast in 1912, and it begins in the graveyard of the church of St. Peter and St. Mary in Fishbourne, where at midnight on the Eve of St. Mark, it is believed that the ghosts of those destined to die in the coming year will be seen entering the church at the turning of the hour.
As the bell tolls, and the eyes of all who have gathered are fixed on the church, a woman is murdered – garrotted by gloved hands – and as over the ensuing days the rising tide and fierce storms threaten the village, the mystery of the dead woman, and of a group of gentlemen - strangers to the village but seen in the graveyard - deepens.
Kate Mosse describes herself as a storyteller, and this book certainly bears that out. I was impressed by the way the central conceit is developed, and I admire the lengths the author went to for her research (the clue is in the title!) for this "compelling story of justice, and of a punishment to fit a crime".
Edited to add: the hardback cover (shown here) is a much stronger design and more appropriate, I think.