Herbert Knox owns a bookshop in Chichester called Lion Street Books. Michael Crew, a student at the university, comes by on a semi regular basis to browse the older books. He was short and thin and had a branching scar up his neck that he normally kept concealed.
The first time Michael came to Lion Street Books he came looking for Dictionnaire infernal, by Jacques de Plancy, the older the better. A smell appeared, similar to that before a storm breaks, and Michael paid in cash and left. Three weeks later he purchased more books on demonology, each time that strange smell appeared and he quickly left. Herbert also started to notice that the light bulbs got brighter when Michael was around and he would occasionally get shocked.
In Feburary Kirsten Bowman, another book dealer in Salisbury, who Herbert had had a fling with many years ago, passed away, leaving her book collection to him. Herbert remarked that many book dealers had died recently, but the police were not able to find any connections between the deaths. In these books, was Ex Altiora, a Leitner tome.
A week later, Michael returns to the shop and finds Ex Altiora, saying, with a furious desperation, that he needs to buy it. Herbert named an extremely high figure and Michael wrote him a cheque before leaving quickly. When Herbert tried to cash the cheque it bounced, and he headed to Michael's house to confront him about it. When he arrived, the room looked and smelt like Michael hadn't left it in weeks, and there were pages of Latin all over the room. Michael didn't acknowledge Herbert, and as it started to rain he went pale and fled with Ex Altiora in hand.
Giving chase, Herbert followed Michael into the Chichester Cathedral bell tower. At it's summit, he found Michael holding Ex Altiora in front of him, chanting in a foreign language with a branching figure in front of him. As he crescendoed, he shouted "I am yours" and jumped out of the window. The branching figure screamed and was pulled through the window with Michael. No body of Michael was found.
Post-Statement Follow-Up Edit
Jonathan Sims believes that Michael was using the book as some kind of ward, and that Herbert didn't mention anything about the starless sky with the Lichtenberg figure that Dominic Swain talked about. Did Michael use The Boneturner's Tale but find that it didn't help?
The trap door has been opened, and someone has been down there, although his colleagues deny anything. There is nothing amiss, although the spiders have moved in and have eaten the worms.