Master of detective fiction, Arthur Conan Doyle here reveals his deep fascination with spiritualism and the paranormal. To his fellow residents on the remote Western coast of Scotland, Major Heatherstone's behaviour seems far from orthodox. Spurning all attempts at friendship, he instead becomes a recluse in Cloomber Hall, forbidding his children even to leave their home. Yet unknown to him, they strike up a friendship with the neighbouring Hunter Wests, who slowly begin to learn the cause of the Major's paranoia, and of his fear of the fifth of October. As September draws to a close, and as they hear of the mysterious arrival of three Buddhist monks, they can only watch in vain, as it seems the Major's secret will not be laid to rest until vengeance is done.