When Stephanie’s uncle dies, she is devastated. Most of her family, nevertheless, is more concerned with what he may have left them in his will rather than the fact that he is gone. When the rest of the family finds out that Stephanie inherited most of her uncle’s estate, therefore, a lot of people are very displeased. At the funeral, and again at the reading of the will, Stephanie notices a strange man. Skulduggery Pleasant wears a trench coat, gloves, scarf, and hat — even indoors — despite the warm weather; it also looks like his hair is just a really bad wig. Stephanie is not sure what to think about Skulduggery until he comes to her rescue one night as she attempts to spend the night alone in her new home (which used to belong to her uncle). Suddenly, Stephanie is drawn into a world of magic beyond belief; a world in which Skulduggery reveals himself as a walking, talking skeleton! Will Stephenie be able to help Skulduggery recover a magical “Sceptre of the Ancients” her uncle died trying to protect, or is it already too late to save the world from the clutches of evil?