Timothy Herring and wife Alison are scouting locations for a Mr. Glanvilliers Ryanston, a movie producer. On his list of sites wanted are a castle, a church, a stone bridge, a folly, and a manor house. Timothy thinks he can fill some or all of the requests through negotiations with the eccentric Leigh-Fifields. Annabel Leigh, a young woman and ex-student of Alison’s, is the chosen representative as dour Aunt Wulfilda, batty Aunt Waltruda, and benign Uncle Ordulf prove less approachable. The family also seems a bit preoccupied, as Timothy spots them carrying out a curiously abridged Black Mass and paying tribute to a plaster bust of a chap named Erik.
Negotiations barely get underway before more strange things occur: the bricked-up entry to Castell Foel is secretly demolished; a reclining skeleton on a kitchen floor is glimpsed through a window; a borzoi goes missing; moods change and talks stall. Staying with the school headmistress, Alison’s old employer Miss Pomfret-Brown, news comes in that one of the students, a girl named Jennifer Purlieu, has disappeared. As she is cousin to Annabel Leigh–and as Annabel managed to visit the school moments before Jennifer vanished–Timothy decides to hunt for the girl. Knowing there’s a priest’s hole built in to Fivefield Hall, he sets out with purpose. There is indeed a body in the hiding place, but it belongs to someone much older than Jennifer.
(Synopsis kindly by Jason Half for information only. If any third party would like to use this material please contact firstname.lastname@example.org).