A sheriff and a judge ran Mignon Thibeaux and her father out of La Valle, Louisiana, when she was five, and she never came back—not until now. Though she never believed her mother would leave without her, Garlande Thibeaux supposedly ran off with the paterfamilias of the town’s wealthiest family, Luc St. Michel. Now a successful New York artist and the image of her mother, Mignon returns 25 years later, and residents of La Valle think they’re seeing ghosts. Recently returned herself from two fashionable decades in Europe, Luc’s daughter Eugenie St. Michel, together with her mother Eleanor and her brother Geraud, a Baton Rouge businessman, have been seeing something on foggy nights and smelling the second-hand perfume of cigars like the ones Luc used to smoke. Unhappy and superstitious, Eleanor invites Mignon to her home for a series of séances, one conducted by a certain Madame Terentia and her son Faustus, who claim to know how to quiet the ghosts. Jourdain Gastineau, still devoted to Eleanor even though he’s now a big-time lawyer and politician, attends the séances and distrusts the materializations that occur. So does John Henry Roque, the hunky local sheriff (not the one who kicked out Mignon and her father), who’s showing a professional and personal interest in Mignon. The truth about Mignon’s mother and Luc will out, but not without more bloodshed.
An uneasy amalgam of urban caper and Southern Gothic: Bevill’s debut entertains without being especially compelling.