About this edition: Published in 1930. A preview chapter of #6 - The Invisible Host by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning is included in the back of the book.
About the author: Walter Livingston is also the author of The Mystery of Villa Sineste, #19 in the Mystery League series.
- Edward Burnleigh, eldest of the three brothers, died by own hand 16 years previously
- Lord Cecil Burnleigh, middle brother, now owner of Burnleigh Manor
- Robert Burleigh, youngest brother, disappeared with Edward's wife 21 years previously
- Lady Burnleigh, wife of Edward; disappeared with Robert 21 years previously
- Glome, Cecil's servant
- Hooper, Edward's servant
- --- Riker, American architect, hired by Cecil to examine the Manor and plan for its restoration
- Captain Lowry, caretaker of the Manor and Lodge, resides in the Lodge
- Edith Lowry, his daughter
Timeline: A bit confusing but this seems to be the background:
- 21 years prior to story: Robert runs off with Lady Burnleigh (Edward's wife). Cecil searches for him without success.
- 16 years prior to story: Edward dies by his own hand on Christmas Eve. The Manor passes to Cecil.
- Present: Lord Cecil arrives with Riker to plan the Manor's restoration.
Hmmm... well, it's not a murder mystery. No one gets murdered.
The story focuses on Burnleigh Manor, now a rundown boarded-up relic, along with the Lodge, a smaller well-kept residence at the gate on the same grounds. The Manor was the property of the eldest brother, Edward, until his death; when it passed to Cecil. The youngest brother, Robert, had run off with Edward's wife (Lady Burnleigh), both without a trace. Five years later, Edward dies by his own hand on Christmas Eve. The story begins sixteen years later.
Cecil, now owner of Burnleigh Manor, contracts with an American architect, -- Riker, to examine the manor and plan for its restoration. There are reports of intruders in the boarded-up Manor, with footprints found inside and some items missing.
Cecil and Riker arrive at the Manor. Riker is attracted to Emily Lowry, but she is aloof; yet constantly attracted to the Manor. As Riker begins his inspection, he deals with trouble-making intruders who thoughtfully leave him little treatening notes (Phantom of the Opera style) and disappear down secret passages. The questions are:
- Whatever happened to Robert and Lady Burnleigh?
- Who is the person (s) still accessing the Manor, and how do they do it?
- What is troubling Edith, anyway?