Leslie March was educated in a hard school--until her mother died of TB, she supported both of them by taking in sewing and washing. So when she is summoned west in 1877 to live with her rich uncle Walter, his new wife Queenie, and Queenie's son George in isolated Morgate House (in the wilds of Illinois), she is no pushover. Neither lecherous young men nor scheming women, locked rooms, ghosts, nor howling dogs can put a crimp in her backbone, stiffened by class consciousness and feminism. As she tells Queenie upon rejecting George's advances: ""I am a person, not a thing. There are women who will sacrifice anything to be able to substitute 'Mrs.' for 'Miss.' I am not one of them. . . . I have a trade, Queenie. I can make a living. I can support myself. I could not live as well as you do, but I would be my own person and I'd rather make my own future poorly and say what it's going to be than have someone else make it for me richly and have no choice."" You tell 'em, Leslie. However, Leslie does not have to draw on her reserves of spunk in solving the mystery here, since a more incompetent set of relative-impersonating villains could not be wished for. She is aided and loved by Stephen Crawford, a handsome sleuth-youth who has taken a job as George's valet for reasons of his own, and who keeps pestering Leslie about what could lie behind the mysterious locked door upstairs at Morgate House. Something nasty and dead, that's for sure. Swell heroine--despite the speechy overkill--triumphs over weak plot.