Cotswold parapsychologist and university lecturer Nathaniel Gye must decide in his debut whether ghosts are harassing a Jacobean manor house.
Ghosts can be pesky, but are they mean-spirited enough to murder? Would they drown sexually frisky Tracy Pensham just to avenge hangings on the Coln St. Ippolyts estate three centuries ago, when it was known as Tripletree for the property’s gallows? Or as retribution for a former owner’s tragic suicide? Have they, in some paranormal way, resurfaced in the body of current chatelaine Juniper Myles, causing her to confess to the recent crime? When her husband Sheldon invites Gye to find out, Gye’s investigation leads to run-ins with a white witch, a regression-therapy charlatan who expires in a gas explosion, and a slew of locals, including the dangerous Holt brothers, who loathe the snooty Myles for foiling a real estate development scheme and canoodling with their baby sister. Lights flicker. Stairs creak. Critters howl. Soldiering on undeterred, Gye and DCI David Mitchenor of the Oxfordshire constabulary sort through the real, the imagined, and the contrived to bring some semblance of peace to the countryside.
Amiably silly stuff, though Gye spends way too much time recapping the plot in his journal entries and discussions with his magazine-editor wife Katherine. Popular historian Wilson (In the Lion’s Court, 2002, etc.) plans a sequel.