British ghosts, as essential to ancestral piles as mullioned windows, have never groaned to better advantage than in this richly satisfying curse-and-murder thriller by a novelist whose talents might be considered too good for the genre. Bledding Sorrow, now under orders from the National Trust to receive groups of scholars and tourists, is still owned by Geoffrey Bledding, descendant of another Geoffrey who mutilated and killed his pathetic young wife and her coachman lover back in the 17th century. The 20th century Geoffrey keeps his fragile American wife under sedation, violates her in an unspeakable fashion; and when a new coachman is hired to transport tourists, one is immediately aware of the ""convergence"" of the ""right forces"" so that the old atrocities and perversions can be recycled. The climax roils with dreadful carnage, snakes and of course the ancient ghosts who do their utmost until the charm's wound up. A skillful hearthside horror tale which will slip down as easily as that brandy you'll toss off before it's over.