Spend a snowbound Christmas in an Elizabethan mansion, amid a wicked and witty assortment of people: musicians, eccentrics, aristocrats, artists, and a pair of bickering ghosts with a taste for eavesdropping and Star Trek.
Struck down by shingles, Cleo Byng postpones her wedding and heads north to recuperate at her infuriating Cousin Henry’s house in the wintry Eyotshire village of Hazard. She’s not sure what to expect, and Haphazard House turns out to be a dilapidated Elizabethan pile with few amenities and a doom-laden housekeeper, not to mention a strange pair who have been in residence for rather more than the usual life span and have a keen interest in modern technology.
Any remaining hopes of a peaceful and uneventful convalescence for Cleo are dashed when she receives an urgent summons to travel abroad and rescue an old friend from the grip of the Hungarian secret police.
Then, safely back in England, a crowd of welcome—and less welcome —friends, relatives and connections descend on Haphazard House for what could be its last ever Christmas before the demolition that threatens both it and its long-standing residents.
Can Cleo make Henry appreciate its charms—and hers?