Stella lives in a big hotel with her three creepy aunts in a gloomy town by the sea, but it doesn't take long before she is up to her neck in mystery -- a burglary that takes place by the light of a dead man's hand, a murder that is not all it seems, a sinister bottle with a supernatural secret. A cast of colourful characters, including many cats, help Stella out, but the central mystery of her parentage is left unresolved -- for now.
For me, all these books seem to share a line of inheritance descending from Joan Aiken -- I found lovely echoes of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (the seminal Victorian intrigue, for my money) with a sprinkling of Dido Twite. I adored Aiken's novels and I hope that a new generation might re-discover them, led by the hand by Stella, Verity, Tensy and the rest. But I guess that current fans of the genre might have enough reading to be getting on with!