An efficient and sufficiently sinister novel of romantic suspense (written under a pseudonym) taking place in 1921 in Virginia hunt country and featuring a glamorous evil woman and a gutsy little heroine--both linked by blood ties and, as it turns out, a past trail of sanguinary suicides, the latter of which unites two present-day victims. Dabney Beale, whose artist father was killed by a streetcar (that's what she'd been told, anyhow) and whose mother is dead, lives in Belle Haven, the mansion built by a horrid, now-deceased grandfather and now presided over by Dabney's beautiful, snappish Aunt Charlotte, who chums with her constant companion, the vaguely unsavory lawyer Eugene Duckworth. Also at Belle Haven: Charlotte's perennially drank, Bible-thundering husband Austin and an eerily handsome, inarticulate and clumsy butler, Favour--a former brothel inmate who provides Charlotte and Eugene with nasty nighttime entertainment (poor Favour's body is later found in the lake). Then enter Dr. ""Bay"" Hamilton, son of Charlotte's first husband, a suicide. Bay and Dabney are mutually repelled, then attracted, and discover in a decaying boathouse all they have in common, as Dabney's father speaks from the past. At the close, there's that familiar cleansing fire with Austin howling around and exultantly torching. Skilled, atmospheric, and comfortingly familiar.