Results of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in the year 1968.
Something is scratching around in the attic above Alison's room. Yet the only thing up there is a stack of grimy old plates. Alison and her stepbrother, Roger, discover that the flowery patterns on the plates, when traced onto paper, can be fitted together to create owls--owls that disappear when no one is watching. With each vanished owl, strange events begin to happen . As the kids uncover the mystery of the owl service, they become trapped within a local legend, playing out roles in a tragic love story that has repeated itself for generations . . . and has always ended in disaster.