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Julie thinks the Executrix would be less frightening if her job were actually to kill people. Instead (as Julie finally worked out at 11) she ensures that their wills get carried out.

Whether she kills people who contest them is up for debate.

Her name is Herringbone and Julie’s been her ward since she was four: a hazy age marked by bad dreams and confusing faces. Some of those faces were almost definitely her parents. Their will must have been a tortuous puzzle, to have enforced custody of their daughter upon the reader; and someday, Julie knows, she’ll read it herself.