Mary, the 23,year-old protagonist, upon the death of her mother, goes to live with her aunt Patience and uncle Joss who is landlord of the ill reputed Jamaica Inn, which stands in a state of solitary disrepair on the Cornwall moors.
Mary comes to learn of the vile and villainous deeds of Joss, who uses the inn for his nefarious purposes. But can she use her knowledge in time to save her aunt Patience and herself?
DuMaurier employs her considerable literary skill and use of metaphor in creating the characters and capturing the desolation of the countryside, where the action takes place. The tale holds the reader captive until the last word.