Eleanor Blakely hails from a long line of talented witches, yet after failing to graduate from the Fanglewick School of Magic her prospects look grim. An apprenticeship at the Wandermere Observatory in the Department of Astronomical Predictions offers her a second chance to gain registration as a magic practitioner, but after falling asleep on the job, missing the planetary alignment in the newly discovered Merlin constellation and mistaking a dragon weyr flying over Wandermere for the Cazilla comet shower, she’s booted out. In the Old World, a magically unlicensed adult witch sits just above humans and troublesome teenage goblins on the scale of social worthiness, well below the most ordinary elves, witches and wizards. Unable to practise magic and in her mid-twenties, Eleanor endures work as a transfer officer, supervising humans on the wards of Silverwing Hospital. Her team transports witches and wizards suffering a fatal affliction, known as magic madness or magdolor, to St Blightus, an asylum in the south. In the midst of a transfer, a murder changes everything, forcing her to flee across dimensions to Earth with an amnesiac wizard. Pursued by ruthless elves, she takes refuge in Downfell Manor, where her grandmother, Lucinda and her strange cat, Bella reside. Murder and mayhem follow Eleanor and Artemis, their paths inevitably crossing those of a non-magical wizard, Detective Finley Quiveridge.