Alison Marchmont Pallis, an attractive and headstrong mistress at a girls’ school, has decided to lay down her kit and become a homeowner. With rather tenuous financial help from fellow teacher April Bounty, Alison purchases a large stone farmhouse estate called Little Monkshood. April suggests that they contact her cousin, Timothy Herring, to see if his Society for the Preservation of Buildings of Historic Interest might be able to help them renovate the house. Timothy makes Alison’s acquaintance, and also learns that she is in a relationship with Simon Bennison, the school’s music master. PHISBE agrees to help restore Little Monkshood, and shortly thereafter (and of no surprise to her cousin) flighty April decides not to buy into the estate, leaving Alison with the large farmhouse and accompanying mortgage.
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