A fantasy-fable without the eccentricity of The Sundial or The Haunting of Hill House. Merricat and her sister Constance live alone with their Uncle Julian, frail in body and mind, since the time when Constance- as a child- is said to have put arsenic in the sugar which killed their parents, their brother and Julian's wife. Taunted by the villagers, they live in a sparkling world of imagination, threatened by the arrival of Cousin Charles. His presence leads to the last disaster, the final encroachment that the outside world will make. There's a childlike charm here, an occasional chill and just a touch of gentle madness which give this a very special kind of sorcery and seduction.