1763. With the end of the French and Indian War and a new king on England's throne, it seems the colonies have entered a peaceful and prosperous new era. And though the fashionable ladies of Boston might find Bracebridge altogether too peaceful to be stimulating, young widow Charlotte Willett likes it just as it is. But the calm of the little village is about to be shattered by a wealthy stranger who bursts into flame by the side of the road--and then disappears!
The townspeople begin muttering about witchcraft and the devil's hand, casting suspicious glances at a local Frenchman. But Charlotte, who has a keen interest in human nature, and her neighbor Richard Longfellow, gentleman farmer and scientist, have more earthly speculations about the merchant's disappearance. Was it murder, or an elaborate scheme? And, with two mysterious deaths to follow and a tavern full of superstitious rabble, will Charlotte and Longfellow uncover the answers before it's too late?