Bess Throckmorton attends a family reunion and meets the ghost of her ancestor Sir Walter Raleigh of cloak-over-puddle and tobacco fame. Raleigh travels home with her to Devon where he tries to help the rest of the family, none of whom know he is there. However, his actions cause more harm than good and he returns to London. When Bess’s family run into money problems and have to sell their farm, Bess turns to Raleigh for help.
Something of a meeting of Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time and The Ghost of Thomas Kempe except that the rehabilitation of Walter Raleigh is not the primary aim of the story, nor is Sir Walter’s ghost mischievous like Thomas Kempe’s. Rather, he is well-meaning but undone by the results of some of his actions. When Walter steals something to help the family, he tries to justify it by saying that as much was taken unjustly from him when he was condemned as a traitor. Bess accuses him, saying “It’s not right to steal things. Just because someone else stole from you first doesn’t make it right to steal back.” The Throckmorton family are convincing even without an additional ghost, and the financial difficulties they are in bring them rather closer together than otherwise.
Tim Golden is a computer programmer living in London. He is also the editor of the Good-to-Read website.