In Victorian England, the daughter of a fake medium finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery when she starts seeing real ghosts.
Sixteen-year-old Violet has learned to pick pockets and set up rooms for fake séances, but she knows she’ll be stuck in poverty if she doesn’t marry a wealthy man. Fortunately she’s beautiful, and her domineering mother’s growing fame as a medium has brought them to the country estate of Lord Jasper, a devotee of spiritualism. Almost immediately, Violet begins seeing the apparition of Rowena, a wealthy girl who drowned the year before. It’s clear to Violet, though, that Rowena was murdered and that the dead girl’s haughty twin sister faces equal danger. Harvey keeps the narrative moving smoothly and well as she weaves romance, suspense and even a bit of comedy into the story. She portrays many of Lord Jasper’s aristocratic guests convincingly as snobbish and uncaring, although a few befriend Violet. The author makes her fantasy believable by having Violet see not just one ghost, but roomfuls of them, both ancient and modern. Most endearingly, Violet’s newly found ghost dog attaches itself to her as though it were a living pet.
A well-paced, clever and scary supernatural-suspense story. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)