A decorous, agreeable tale about a village mystery, loss, and love in England of the 1880s. Cassie Garner was orphaned in childhood by a fire which had killed her schoolmaster father. Now grown, she finds herself increasingly puzzled and disturbed by the presence of former schoolmate Ella--a frail, unpleasantly ethereal being who seems to want to linger around the portrait of Cassie's dead mother. Vague unease turns to anger and hatred when Ella marries the man Cassie expected to wed. But Ella dies after giving birth to a child by another, and gradually Cassie learns some home truths about her intended, about Ella and the small secret which led to terrible tragedy. At the close, Cassie, married to the right man, contemplates the tangled passions behind Ella's look of innocence. With a nicely spaced series of integrated mysteries, rather better than most in the petit point Victorian genre.