Dangerous, overdone doings in bucolic Kent--starting off when a robbery at Kenlake House goes awry: one of the robbers, already savaged by guard dogs, is finished off by some mysterious assailant. And this is only the first of several bodies to be found in or around Kenlake by the Channing family--irascible farmer T.J., much put-upon son Tom, daughters Lucy and Beth (brooding over her broken romance with moody neighbor Archer Read). Gossipy Violet Pettifer dies after eating poison mushrooms, and young Georgie Mumford, afraid of heights, is found dead at the foot of an abandoned tower; Beth rescues old Esther Deauville from a push over a cliff and later finds the dead body of Reuben Colley, her father's foreman. And finally heroine Beth escapes death herself: the overdrawn, unconvincing villain is stopped. . . and Beth faces an unpromising future with her resurrected romance. Snarling father-son relationships, intimations of incest, heavy Gothic overtones--but Harris' cluttered narrative and purplish prose fail to generate much suspense in the story or much interest in the tortured cast of characters.