Framton Nuttel is anticipating a rather brief and formal visit to this stereotypical English country home. It seems like a relaxed sort of place, and he only expects to be offered tea and biscuits and a little general conversation. He doesn't really want to be here because it is not in his character to call on complete strangers; but his sister has given him a letter of introduction which he feels obligated to present. The first violation of his expectations occurs when a teenage girl enters instead of Mrs. Sappleton. Then she tells him a fabricated story about the deaths of three men and implies that her aunt became mentally unbalanced by the loss. Then the three supposedly dead men actually appear heading towards the open window, and Framton is so terrorized that he flees. The main violations of conventions are the elements of insanity and ghostly appearances in a conservative old country house. The mischievous young Vera adds a refreshing note of irreverent youth to this stodgy ancient household full of old-fashioned furniture, knicknacks, and stiffly posed portraits of ancestors painted in oil.