Book Three in the Dido Kent Mystery Series
Miss Dido Kent does not approve of ghosts. They are, in Dido's opinion, quite useless and she will not put herself to the inconvenience of believing in them. However, when Penelope Lambe falls from the ruined gallery of Madderstone Abbey, Dido's rational view is put to the test. For, as she loses consciousness, Penelope whispers, 'I saw her… It was her.' Who can it be that Penelope saw in the deserted gallery if it was not the ghost of the Grey Nun which has haunted the place for centuries?
Events take a more sinister turn when the skeleton of governess, Elinor Fenn, is discovered in a lake in the abbey grounds. Miss Fenn has been dead for fifteen years, but it seems that her death is still important to folk at Madderstone. Anne Harman-Foote, Miss Fenn's erstwhile pupil, wishes Dido to help her prove that the coroner is wrong in pronouncing the cause of death to be suicide; for Anne cannot bear to see the remains laid in an unconsecrated grave. And someone else at Madderstone seems to be working against them: Elinor's letters disappear from her writing desk, and the ring which she always wore is stolen. Why is someone trying to obscure the truth? Was Miss Fenn murdered?
And why has the skeleton been discovered within days of Penelope's accident? The two must be connected – because coincidences are another thing for which Dido has no patience. But, as she searches at Madderstone and Bath for a solution, Dido finds that nearly everybody is behaving a little oddly. The Reverend Mr Portinscale is stealing cake from the pantry; the local surgeon is plucking chickens in the abbey's poultry yard; and young Silas Crockford is writing remarkably bad poetry.
All this may serve to distract Dido from the misery of her present situation. Financial problems in the family have forced her and sister Eliza to give up their cottage; Dido is now living with her brother Francis and his mean-spirited wife Margaret. It is almost enough to make a woman wish herself married…