Ellery Queen is asked by a lawyer friend to help protect the interests of a pretty young heiress. They meet her, along with an unpleasant physician who is a friend of her family, as she disembarks in New York from an ocean liner arriving from England. She learns that her father, from whom she has been separated since her toddler years, has died just as she is to be reunited with her eccentric family and inherit her father’s fabled hoard of gold. The group drives for hours to reach an ugly and sinister Victorian house called the Black House at nightfall. The Black House, where her father died, is uninhabitable — the group meets the family and beds down in a small stone house next door. When they awake, the Black House has vanished as though it never existed. Ellery must shake off the Gothic trappings and the suggestions of black magic in order to figure out what has happened to the Black House and the gold.