Her mother's dying request obliges Mary Yellan to make a grim journey across bleak Cornish moorland to Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience and her overbearing husband, Joss Merlyn.
With the coachman's warning echoing in her mind and affected by the inn's brooding power, Mary is thwarted in her intention to help her aunt. She finds herself drawn unwillingly into the misdeeds of Joss and his accomplices, and even more disturbing are her feelings for a man she dare not trust . . .