My rants and reviews
by Mary Stewart
I can see why this is considered one of Mary Stewart's best among her Mystery books. In some ways it shows its age and screams 'pulp', yet it is written with the skill I've seen used in her Merlin series and once it gets going, holds attention and really made me want to know what was going on.
Geillis Ramsay is named after her mother's cousin, who has something of magic about her. It's a quality her mother had as well, until she married a clergyman. Much of Geillis' childhood is characterized by austerity, but when she inherits the house that belonged to her namesake, everything changes.
The house itself is a mystery. Between odd neighbors and strange locked doors, hidden secrets slowly unravel while Geillis discovers just what sort of witch her cousin was. Messages from the dead and animals who behave as if they know more than their new human mistress flavor a story with some interesting and very distinctive characters.
While older stories like this can feel dated, I enjoyed it enough to want to read a couple more of Stewart's better known Mysteries.