On his deathbed vicar Rant makes a secret confession to his niece Mary Simpson. Some twenty years later young librarian William Garrett is asked by elderly John Eldred to locate a book called 'The Tractate Middoth' but a mysterious cloaked figure takes the book from the shelves and Eldred panics and leaves. On a second attempt to find the book Garrett is confronted by the mysterious borrower, a rotting ghost, the encounter causing him to faint. He goes to the seaside to recover and, by coincidence, stays with Mrs Simpson and her daughter. He learns that she is the cousin of Eldred, who cheated her out of an inheritance when Rant died though a will in her favour was actually made and hidden in the pages of the Tractate Middoth . Eldred finally obtains the book but Rant, witnessed by Garrett, exacts vengeance from beyond the grave.