Ellie Haskell and her household helper/sidekick, Mrs. Malloy, take up residence in a Yorkshire mansion that may be haunted by spirits from the very recent past.
Now that her father and stepmother have come into a big lottery prize and bought Cragstone House from Lady Fiona Gallagher, things should be looking up for young Ariel Hopkins. But she’s frightened by mysterious bumps in the night and unhappy that Tom and Betty Hopkins, thinking only of their upcoming garden party, ignore her when she calls attention to them. So Ariel hightails it back to her old friend, Tom’s cousin Ellie (The Importance of Being Ernestine, 2002, etc.), to inveigle her into the mystery. The question is whether Lady Fiona’s husband, Nigel, who disappeared 18 months ago, may still be hanging about the place, dead or alive. A medium Mrs. Malloy invites to get in touch with Nigel’s spirit is briskly successful but found bogus, and it’s hard for Ellie to concentrate on Nigel’s whereabouts when she’s distracted by her dishy chef husband Ben’s obvious interest in Betty’s beautiful acquaintance Val Pierce, who came to visit her great-aunt, Nigel’s former nanny, and stayed on to redecorate Cragstone and bat her eyes at Ben. Patient readers will be rewarded by a pair of actual murders, but the main activities are drawing-room chitchat and swoony connubial canoodling.
Ellie’s tenth is the same mixture as before: archly literate and witty, with a soft center.