When Philip's widowed mother goes to nursing school, leaving him in Glasgow with Great-aunt Jane and Susan, a cousin his own age, he is determined to keep aloof from his ""posh"" relatives; but he and Susan are soon allied in solving a mystery and nurturing their frail aunt. ""The Mount"" is a huge, grand house befitting the family's eminent past, but there's so little money left that Jane is gradually selling off her possessions. The empty room that was her tyrannical father's glows supernaturally and provides clues to Jane's tragedy--a gifted student, she was forced to spend her life caring for her invalid father, who had interfered with her one love. While the ghostly past here is less exotic than in the author's Clementina, the contemporary part of the story is stronger. Understanding Philip's mixed emotions after the death of his own despotic father, Jane is able to help him form a constructive attitude toward his future; and in coming to love and value his undemanding but clear-seeing aunt, Philip gives new meaning to her life, allowing her to let the past go. Drawn in by the entrancing mystery, readers will be enriched by the forcefully drawn characters (Jane and Susan each give underachieving, rebellious Philip a well-deserved lecture with enough justice and tact to make his listening plausible) and by the accessible but deft prose (""grievances crowded to his mind like wasps to bruised fruit."" ""We should love people who. . .respect our right to be ourselves"").