Who was Alice? And why had she cursed the Fletchers to the effect that no first-born has inherited Springfield for over three hundred years? Dorcas Meadows has personal reasons for solving the mystery - not least because she is in love with the heir. She has a strange affinity to the house. She knows things she cannot explain. But Springfield will not yield up its secrets easily. Family connections and old enmities, coincidences and parallels lure and confound the searchers. Can they find an answer before Miles Fletcher meets an un-timely end?