First published in 1932
Brother and sisters Peter and Margaret Fortescue and their married sister Celia Malcolm inherit a rambling old house from an uncle. The house has been empty for a while. A charming house full of history, originally a Priory (monastery of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress), BUT said to be haunted by a monk! The uncle never even lived there himself after he inherited it from a relative, but chose to live far away from it!
Celia and her lawyer husband, Charles, Peter, Margaret and no nonsense Aunt Lillian come to stay at the house and decide for themselves if it is worth fixing up and keeping. At first the things that go bump in the night and the whispers and fears from people in town have them on edge. But levelheaded Peter and Charles think there is more to this haunting then meets the eye and are determined to get to the bottom of it. Whose afraid of a little old ghost? That is until a murder is committed!
Who could be behind the strange goings on and why?
The strange neighbors, Mr. Duval, the drunken artist who obviously is crazy and says he’s seen the Monk and is terrified. Mr. Titmarsh, the eccentric moth collector who is so intent on his prey he forgets to pay attention to who’s property he roams around on at all hours of the day and night. Or Colonel Ackerley, the only one in the bunch that seemed to have his elevator going all the way to the top floor? Then there’s Michael Strange, supposedly a visitor on vacation but why does he keep showing up in the most suspicious places and what kind of hold does he have over Margaret? You can see there are lots of great characters floating around in this ghost story!
I enjoyed this first, for me, read by Georgette Heyer. The old house (full of secret passages by the way!), the detail, the wonderful characters, well thought out mystery full of subtle humor all made for a roaring good time! I’ll be looking for more by this great author!