Ralph Truitt puts an advertisement in many papers for a reliable wife and is answered by Catherine Land. Catherine claims to be a simple woman who is honest, but she secretly hides a shocking past. Ralph also has a sordid and secret past, which he will share with Catherine, because he has a job for her. Catherine comes to Wisconsin and she and Ralph have a rough time from the start. However, Ralph places his trust in Catherine, recruiting her to bring back his "son". Catherine has her own agenda revealed early in the story, she plans to poison Ralph and take off with his money for her and her lover. There is a greater twist to the story that leads to a shocking ending.
This was a bit like erotica for the 1900s. The main characters are obsessed with sex and enjoy it quite a bit. The story is very twisted with a big surprise about half way through, which I won't give away, but kind of disgusted me. The suspenseful parts were well written and Goolrick is very descriptive with the landscape and emotions of his characters. I did enjoy his writing, but not really the storyline. I wouldn't mind reading another one of his books, but not a book with a similar plot. For me it was a 3 cups of cocoa and that is mainly for his descriptive style.