The ratings for this book are all over the place and I believe the reason is twofold: a desire for this book to be a light hearted mystery romance like the author's Death on Demand series and a basic misunderstanding of the conventions of both gothic mysteries and Harlequin romances of the period. As the author explains in the introduction, light hearted mysteries (or any mysteries written by females) were not selling in the 1970/1980s. The author wrote this as a Harlequin gothic romance to ensure that it would sell. Gothic mysteries have several conventions such as using the setting and its history as main characters and having the heroine do things that any reasonably person wouldn't do. There's a reason that this genre is also known as the "Had I but Known" school of writing (i,e., had I but known, I wouldn't have followed the ghost outside at night by myself). However, Harlequin Romances, that I read voraciously during middle school in the 1970s, had even stricter conventions. There always were two choices of boyfriends for the heroine to choose between. The reader had to be able to feel smart at the end of book for selecting both the correct boyfriend and the "villain" at least 50 pages before either were revealed in the book. This book follows all of these conventions but still remains an entertaining read. I would recommend it to people who want to read a good gothic romance. It is better written than most written during the period. If you like this book, you might also want to try Mary Stewart, who was arguably the most famous gothic writer at the time. Since she was published by a different publishing house, she was not forced to be as predictable as the Harlequin Gothic Romance books.