Having dropped some heavy hints that I'd like this for Christmas, I was delighted to find a pristine copy in the local library. I don't know how many years it has been since I galloped through The Quincunx and couldn't put it down. This is Palliser's first novel for a decade and it had all the ingredients ... Gothic mansion, family secrets, anonymous letters, hanky-panky with the scullery maid, a callow young opium addict as unreliable narrator.
But somehow it all got so convoluted and unconvincing that by the time I reached the very unsatisfactory ending, I'd really lost interest. Far from sitting up all night, as I did over The Quincunx, I kept nodding off. There's a review here.