A story within a story, both affording great leisure-pleasure, about Lorna Teasdale and her niece Christabel whom she has not only reared with love but well educated after they rent a fiat in the old house from a disagreeable Mrs. Rumbold. Lorna who tells the story and speaks of herself in a deprecatory fashion has special forebodings which become increasingly confirmed when she devotes herself to an attic ""solid with muck"" including photographs and letters and a journal leaving a love affair and a death -- in fact two -- a while ago to be explained while right now her unrevealed past and Christabel's parlous present dovetail what happened earlier on with increasing alarm. . . . When she is good, Miss Berckman is very very good in this genre -- here she couldn't be better.