Jane Forsyth wants a new life—far, far away from her cold mother and recently-buried father. Working as personal assistant to a wealthy recluse seems ideal: fresh air, beautiful surroundings on a remote Scottish island, and time to recover from the trauma of nursing her abusive father. But when she arrives at gloomy, ghost-ridden Cardrossan House she finds a family even more dysfunctional than her own.
Her employer, Sebastian Holt-Manning, is drowning in whiskey, his wife has left him, and he treats his only child, Emilia, as if she doesn’t exist. It’s only her budding relationship with the lonely, mercurial teenager that convinces Jane to stay. The neglected Emilia requires a friend—and who better than Jane to mentor her through the hazards of a distant mother and a cruel father.
When Mrs. Holt-Manning’s body is discovered on the banks of the Black Loch, Jane becomes obsessed with the clues she believes point to murder. With Emilia leading her deeper into the shadowy secrets of the family and servants, Jane pursues the elusive facts. But even the strength she used to survive her parents may not be enough to save her from the terrible truths she discovers on the shores of the dark water.