Kitty is the child of Herbert and Catherine Linley, a spoiled, coddled little girl who is at the same time—in the tradition of all Victorian children—adorable. The Evil Genius begins with the story of Kitty's ill-fated governess Sydney Westerfield, a girl thrown aside in the grand tradition of Jane Eyre and David Copperfield. And now an "evil genius" is threatening to rip apart the fabric of the Linley home. Who is it, and why? Is it the orphaned young governess, Sydney, for whom the father lusts? The brother-in-law who appears to help everyone but often succeeds in making things worse? The meddling mother-in-law whose good-intentioned interferences lead to greater heartache? The disloyal father? Or perhaps it is the unassuming daughter.