Triple-murder in the 87th Precinct: a woman is found stabbed outside her building, while upstairs her neighbor Gregory Craig has also been knifed to death; he's the bestselling author of Deadly Shades, a ""true"" book about ghosts. And a few days later, Craig's publisher--a suavely smoking-jacketed bisexual with ""a mouth out of The Razor's Edge and a jaw out of Brighton Rock""--is also done in. Homicide cop Steve Carella does his usual smart investigating, providing solid McBain-style urban vignettes among the glossy and seedy. But Craig's mediumistic girlfriend keeps pressing Carella to follow the psychic leads in the case; and finally, reluctantly impressed by her paranormal gifts, Carella does trek up to Boston--to the ghost-house where Craig supposedly got his material, to the seacoast where Craig's wife drowned (suicide? murder?). Does Carella see ghosts? Yes, folks, he does--a whole slew of Salem-witch-trial spirits--and the goblin stuff is definitely out of place in streetwise McBain-land. But McBain is enough of a pro not to hinge the case on this haunted-house nonsense: the detection and motivation are otherwise straightforward and satisfying. So, while there's a lure here for the spooky audience, down-to-earth procedural fans will probably not be totally turned off. A big improvement over Calypso (the last 87th Precinct case), and, though not first-class McBain, lively and engrossing work from the best of the U.S. police-proceduralists.