Children heard, and heard of, but not seen.
Maggie Summers (Shadows at the Fair, 2002) accepts an invitation she would characterize as hysterical if it were from anyone but her old college roommate Amy Douglas. Fleeing a hectic New York City life and planning a family, Amy and her husband Drew have purchased a new home on the Maine coast. New to them, that is: The 17th-century house, which had belonged to the local Brewer family since it was built, seems to resent the interlopers. Amy, whom Maggie remembers as extraordinarily practical, well-organized, and goal-oriented, is being frightened by crying babies, ghosts, and other less ethereal harassments, and she wants Maggie, a dealer in antique prints, to provide emotional support along with interior decorating tips. Maggie is less alarmed by ghosts than by Amy and Drew’s obsessive desire to have children and the toll it appears to be taking on their marriage. Amy is indeed hysterical, and Drew, himself an adopted child, drinks too much and shows way too much interest in Crystal, the local teenager. When Crystal is found murdered and pregnant—not in that order—Maggie must untangle the family histories of the Brewers and the Douglases to identify the murderer.
The redecorated haunted house muffles the raw anxieties of its Gothic predecessors, as the older family scandals resonate more strongly than present-day conflicts.