Eel Marsh house stands alone, surveying the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Once, Mrs Alice Drablow lived here as a recluse. Now, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor with a London firm, is summoned to attend her funeral, unaware of the tragic and terrible secrets which lie behind the house's shuttered windows.
It is not until he glimpses a young woman with a wasted face, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a sense of profound unease begins to creep over him and take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk about the woman in black or what happens whenever she is seen.
And Kipps has to stay on in the lonely house, sorting out Mrs. Drablow's papers, when the mist begins to enshroud both it and its surrounding graveyard and the high tide cuts it off from the world beyond.