The Curious Vanishing of Beatrice Willoughby

Q: What’s new?

A: A new addition to the family in the form of a baby girl. It has been a hectic year of zero sleep, incoherent sentences, and… oh, wait, you meant what’s new in terms of books?

I’m incredibly excited to announce my third novel, The Curious Vanishing of Beatrice Willoughby, comes out this September!

(Cover art by Viola Massarenti)

I wrote this book while pregnant with my daughter, and juggled the revisions as a first-time parent. The first draft took me ages to nail down. It’s probably the hardest book I’ve written. The plot changed several times, as did the characters’ backstories. The book was originally slated for 2022, but that quickly changed.

The Curious Vanishing of Beatrice Willoughby is an ode to the Gothic genre. (Think Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dr. Jekyll.) I have a fondness for dark humor. I love Chris van Allsburg (author of Jumanji)’s darker works, and these Edward Gorey illustrations are right up my alley.

The Curious Vanishing of Beatrice Willoughby will make the reader laugh while solving a Very Important Mystery involving disappearing children. It features a quirky cast of characters, a strange town, and a suspicious crow.

Here’s the official description of the book:

The Amadeuses were always considered somewhat strange. Even before the incident.

When six-year-old Beatrice Willoughby vanished at the Amadeuses’ annual All Hallows Eve party, people in the tiny mountain town of Nevermore were quick to whisper: They were always odd. Their house is full of dark magic. And when Mort Amadeus was pegged for the crime, the Amadeuses, once the center of society, retreated. They closed their doors, disappeared from life. People almost forgot. Until thirteen years later, when six envelopes land at the doorstep of six households in town: We cordially invite you to a celebration on the 31st of October this Saturday evening at the Amadeus household.

So begins the mystery of who was really responsible for the missing girl thirteen years ago. Was it Duchess von Pelt, whose face no one has ever seen? Mrs. Raven, the keeper of the local inn? Wormwood, the Amadeuses’ mysterious caretaker? Dr. Foozle, the town pharmacist? Count Baines, who seems to know when unlucky things are about to happen? Judge Ophelius, who presided over Beatrice’s case originally? Mr. and Mrs. H, a couple who no one can ever quite remember? Or somehow, might precocious, thirteen-year-old Dewey and his storytelling dad, Chaucer, be somehow mixed up in all this?

The guests must work together to identify the guilty party among them over the course of the evening—but beware the ticking clock, because at midnight, everything is going to change! Told from different perspectives, this is a sly, darkly funny mystery. Filled with strange characters and set in a mansion deep, deep in the woods. G. Z. Schmidt has crafted an unforgettable puzzle, perfect for reading on a dark autumn night.

You can pre-order the book here. More soon!