Grand melodrama and mystery and most unexpected from Mr. Priestley, whom we associate with the leisurely chronicle novel, rather than the fast-paced adventure story. Three men, -- a young English architect, an American scientist and teacher and an artist of sorts -- are drawn together in investigation of the mysterious stronghold of the MacMichael brothers, not far from Death Valley. Here is the headquarters of a strange sect, here the laboratory of the lost physicist, here the retreat of the retired multi-millionaire -- and here the home of the lovely, sad daughter. A variety of strange happenings brought the three strangers together; and yet stranger adventures befell them before the grand climax. It's a well conceived tale, exceptionally well told -- and makes first rate vacation reading. Though it extends our realization of Priestley's gifts, it will not add particularly to his fame in literature, but will increase his readers to include those demanding first rate entertainment.