Julia Kemp dies in a boating incident and Roger marries Bridget three years later. The two children of the earlier marriage are Crispin and Isobel. Another member of the household is Roger's sister, Agnes. A brother, Francis, lives on the property. It is an ancient estate. Isobel has taken to attending seances and seeking messages from her mother's spirit.
Charles Wycliffe is vacationing with his wife, Helen, to recover from a bout of influenza. Isobel believes the Kemp family is dragged down by the house, Kellycoryk. Roger Kemp is ready to sell the estate. Bridget's empty car is found at an unusual location. The problem with the theory of suicide is that it doesn't fit her observed mental state. Crispin claims he saw his father Roger driving Bridget's car, and friends tell Crispin to keep his observations to himself.
The fact that Bridget is missing causes the police to open a case and Wycliffe to terminate his vacation. A van is sent for Wycliffe's use until an incident room can be set up. In dealing with the solution to cases, Wycliffe tries to form patterns in his mind. He notes that the members of the family of Roger Kemp tend to live in mental isolation.
This work is sufficiently mysterious and atmospheric to enchant crime novel aficionados.