Charis Lindfield, orphan, has had a nasty time scullery-maiding for old Aunt Lavendar. So when she comes into an estate in 1865--left to her for unknown reasons by a friend of her father's--she would hie there at once even if it were in the middle of Romney Marsh. And she does. And it is. But an old murder has left its traces on the atmosphere of marshy Barley Farm, and the village mood soon becomes equally malevolent when Charis asks too many questions about smuggling. Ghosts, rude neighbors, unpleasant servants, and a witches' coven that leaves mommets on her pillow--none of these bring Chaffs enlightenment, and she is eventually almost done to death more by her own dopiness than anything else. Ring the bells more loudly, please, next time.