Caroline Derwent-Jones is a young woman who on the eve of her 19th birthday escapes her greedy uncle after his near rape of her by kidnapping his wimpy son and riding out to find her aunt, her only caring living relative. As it is raining, they stop at an inn and it is there that she meets Frederick North, Lord Chilton. Her cousin has taken ill during the rain and she and Lord Chilton nurse him back to health. She does however take Lord Chilton's horse and leave the inn to proceed to her aunt's home only to find that her aunt has been murdered. Lord Chilton had known this and as he is the local magistrate is investigating the murder. At the reading of the will she finds that she has inherited her aunt's estate along with a worthless cousin in law who is a debaucvher of the worse kind.
Caroline and Lord Chilton are attracted to each other and eventually marry. This is brought on by her greedy uncle appearing and trying several times to kidnap her and force her into marriage so he can control her fortune. Their investigation into the aunt's murder brings to light several other murders in the area. All the murders are senseless on the surface and leave no real clues.
Add to this main plot 2 interesting sub plots. Part of her inheritance from her aunt is 3 young ladies who have been raped and left pregnant who Caroline is to teach a trade and who she moves into the castle, Mount Hawke. Mount Hawke has only had men living there for 3 generations and all the staff are misogymists(women haters). Also there is a lovely hill nearby where bracelets, cups, etc made of gold show up mysteriously.
In the final chapters of the book Caroline is kidnapped by a member of Lord Chilton's staff and tries to escape and finds herself in an unknown cave beneath the hill filled with a kings ransom and a mysterious sword stuck in a huge rock. It is in this cave that Caroline learns who the murderer is and the reason young women have been murdered over the years.
This report prepared by plnorth