First arson, then murder strike Emily Dickinson’s hometownAlthough she spent her life withdrawn from the people of Amherst, Massachusetts, every man, woman, and English professor in this small university town claims ownership of poet Emily Dickinson. They give tours in her house, lay flowers on her grave, and now, as the hundredth anniversary of her death approaches, they organize festivals in her name. Dickinson scholar Owen Kraznik has just been railroaded into organizing the festival when Amherst starts to burn.?As the fire consumes a fourteen-story university dormitory, transcendentalist scholar and occasional sleuth Homer Kelly considers that it may have been set on purpose. Two students die in the blaze, but neither was the arsonist’s target. Emily Dickinson wrote countless poems on the nature of mortality, but before Amherst can celebrate her words, death will leap off the page.