Seeking to escape the demands of life in London, Pam Fitzgerald and her brother, Roddy, an aspiring playwright, discover a charming house in the west of England, overlooking the Irish Sea. The house, Cliff End, has long been empty, and they are able to purchase it at a suspiciously low price from crusty Commander Brooke, the village curmudgeon. The reason is soon apparent: The house has an unsavory reputation. Fifteen years earlier a murder may or may not have occurred by the gnarled tree that can be viewed from the parlor window. Slowly the Fitzgeralds begin to sense the evil spirit that still inhabits the house, announcing its presence with a sudden, bone-chilling cold. Their housekeeper's cat will not enter the nursery, where the sound of a weeping woman adds to the tense atmosphere, and the scent of a flowery, exotic perfume called mimosa comes and goes. The village doctor, the local gossip, and a former governess visit, with strange stories of the beautiful Mary Meredith, who once lived in the house and of the striking, unstable Carmel, who posed for a painting that led to her destruction. With the help of Mary's daughter, Stella, a beautiful young girl whose mysterious birth holds the key to the puzzle, and a seance arranged by an actress friend of the Fitzgeralds, Cliff End is forced, at last, to reveal its dark secrets. The action then builds steadily to a truly terrifying climax, in which the ghost is discovered to be not only real but dangerous.