The candle lights up a flickering sense of evil, an indefinable but distinct presence. As in Dragon Summer (1963) the author has managed to convey a sense of black magic although other elements of the story are not achieved with the same finesse. Three young girls, a generation apart, who lived at the Old Court in Wales, tell their own story. First there was Melissa, whose younger sister Jane, was the first to be spellbound by the antique, fascinatingly evil doll, Dido, found in an old trunk. Then came Dilys, Jane's daughter by the man she had witched away from Melissa. Dilys escaped her mother's baleful influence only to end up in a Nazi concentration camp. Her daughter Nina was found in an orphanage by Melissa and taken back to Old Court where she too came under Dido's power but overcame it and destroyed the doll... The most compelling moments occur when the characters become aware of the malignant spread of evil. Jane is rarely more than objectified as an evil force and Melissa is disappointingly bland. Often the minor characters are lost in the story but many girls will be pleased with the gothic change of pace and will find it hard to shrug off the mood.