There was a way of killing people you told me about. You found it in a book, an old one: gilded edges and a cracked spine, boards that had warped like the hull of a ship.

A young boy takes up the Egyptian art of embalming to win the girl of his dreams. Four devils play knucklebones, as they search for a way out of Hell.

In these stories the dead turn up in unexpected places: buried in the walls of newbuilds, washed up on deserted riverbanks, housed in the carcass of a giant sea creature, flung from bridges only to return to their homes, asking for cream and sugar with their coffee. All the while, the living search for ways to hold onto their happiness, knowing how thin the boundary is between their place and the next.

By turns poignant, surprising and darkly funny, World Fantasy Award-winner Helen Marshall crosses the territory of ancient stories, fairy tales and urban legends in search of new myths for the troubled times we live in.