This reads like a murder mystery, but unlike a murder mystery this one isn't solved at the end. There's a body under coals, badly decomposed. The house belongs to a family who take in boarders and this appears to be a boarder who has left. It has all the elements of a good mystery. Eccentric people, immigrants trying to make good, a maid that may or may not be the lover of several of the characters and was accused herself but she turned it around on almost everyone else and added some gothic spice to the mix. Fueled by popular newspapers this was a mess of a case from the start and it's still not clear who dunnit.