Set in the upper reaches of the Thames in the late 19th century; 'Dark Deeds & Alchemy' is a rite of passage story with murder, magic and villainy. The book has all the characters you would expect to find in a Victorian melodrama: an orphan, an eccentric uncle, an odious baddie with two evil henchmen and a mad professor. After the death of his parents and sister in a boating accident, Daniel Trance is taken in by his eccentric Uncle Magico. A book of alchemy is wrongly delivered to his uncle, who becomes obsessed with the subject. In Oxford Magico is approached by the mysterious Professor Poon, who claims to have papers written by the Elizabethan magician John Dee that describe how to create the Philosopher's Stone. Magico is persuaded to set up a laboratory and carry out the process, but it soon proves to be an expensive venture. As Daniel seeks out the exotic ingredients required by his uncle, he begins to uncover the shocking truth about the death of his parents.