In WINTERHOUSE, Elizabeth returns from school to find her home at her aunt and uncle's locked, a small bag of clothes hanging on the door, $3, and a bus ticket. Her guardians had been given money by a mysterious benefactor to be used on a holiday vacation for them and a trip to the Winterhouse hotel for Elizabeth. Rather than question a stranger's intentions, they take off without notice. They're those kinds of guardians. When Elizabeth arrives at the remote luxury hotel, she can hardly believe her luck: a room all to herself, a huge library to explore, oodles of winter sports to try, and even a new friend, Freddy, also there by himself, and he's a huge fan of word puzzles, too. It's all shaping up to be an idyllic holiday until Elizabeth finds a book in the library, on instinct, hidden on a high shelf. She sneaks it back to her room without checking it out, not knowing why. It's called A Guide for Children and is filled with games, codes, and puzzles. Harmless fun, Elizabeth thinks, until the hotel owner, Norbridge, tells her about a book his family has been anxious to find for generations. A key to a family secret. Elizabeth is sure that her stolen book is not the one he means, until she spots a few large silver letters on the book she didn't notice before. And when she tries to show them to Freddy, she realizes they are letters only she can see.