The demented loon is at the far end of the lake; the Albany detective is at the bottom of Old Maid's cove. The historic Hyde Manor sits forlornly at lake side and waits for guests.
Jeanne Sands comes to Vermont to paint the autumn colors. TH Ryder plans to spend a sabbatical through the winter.
Staying at opposite ends of the Manor, they begin to hear sounds, voices in other empty rooms. Jeanne investigates and learns that 10 years before, the Browns were shot point blank at the dinner table in a gruesome family killing. Blood on the wall, no known motive, never solved.
Jeanne reads in the old newspapers the various accounts of the murders and learns that the adopted daughter, Nancy Stokes, was considered a person of interest. But Nancy vanished without a trace. Jeanne reads that Nancy was adopted from the nearby Albany School of Troubled Girls.
Jeanne and TH pay the Albany Institute a visit and hear that Nancy Stokes was a strange girl, remarkable, perhaps a mystic, maybe a Nephilim, other worldly.
Nell, the Director, tells Jeanne and TH that the former Institute Director, Dr. Bollinger, was in love with Nancy. He had recently retired and moved to the Hyder Manor that spring. Bollinger was taking six months to write a history of Central Vermont and the historic Hyde Manor. One morning, he hanged himself from the second floor balcony.
Bollinger left a considerable estate and most of it to Nancy Stokes, if she can be found alive. Nell hired an Albany detective to discover what happened to Nancy, but the investigator disappeared.
Jeanne and TH return to the Manor and visit the strange man across the way in the boarded-up house trailer. Gene used to be the Hyde Manor maintenance man. He tells Jeanne and TH he also loved Nancy.
Gene warns them that Nancy has returned to the Manor and that they are in danger.
The haunting has begun.