A Boston divorcée with ESP debuts in a mystery that’s actually a pair of mysteries.
Convinced that her Back Bay townhouse is haunted, Tania Arnot threatens to sue everybody in sight, including realtor Meg Givens, unless somebody exorcises the ghost. So Meg presses her friend Regina Cutter into service even though Regina comes with a couple of disadvantages. She considers herself a psychic, not an exorcist. Her initial survey of the Arnot house comes up empty-handed. And she’d much rather work with Det. Francis Devaney, of Boston Homicide, on a cold case: the street killing of State Senator Jordan Wald’s son Peter 13 years ago on a night when the college kid went looking for drugs in the wrong place. Henry Faiser, the black dealer convicted of the murder, is still bombarding Devaney with pleas for help, and Devaney wants Regina’s professional opinion. Once more, however, Regina’s paranormal powers, which she inherited from her aunt Jo along with her house in Barlow Square and half interest in Biscuit the beagle, come up short. Hooked on the Wald case, Regina pursues it even when Devaney loses interest and her friends warn her off—just like Tania Arnot’s husband Jeffrey, an influential black fundraiser who suavely orders Regina to stay away from his house and his wife.
A missed opportunity for a promising heroine. The biggest mystery is why, given Regina’s psychic strikeouts, anybody would want to hire her.