A small town in upstate New York is a haven for Spiritualists and murder.
Archaeologist Faye Longchamp Mantooth and her adopted daughter, Amande, have taken a job updating a museum in Rosebower while Faye’s husband stays home with their young son. The museum owner is a history buff who never turns away any contribution, no matter how worthless, and has some oddly racist ideas on the worth of some of his collection. The Armistead family, especially talented Spiritualist Tilda, has a great deal of influence in Rosebower, whose citizens are deeply divided over the direction in which the town is moving. An hour after Faye, Amande and Tilda’s sister Myrna take part in a séance, the house burns down with Tilda nailed into the tiny séance room, left to die. Among the suspects are Tilda’s estranged daughter and her husband, a sexy magician, who have their eyes on Tilda’s land. The show they put on every night garners the couple a very nice living, but the husband is plotting with a developer who has plans to turn Rosebower into a sort of Disneyland for believers in ghosts. Also in town is a part-time magician whose work on a book debunking the whole Spiritualist idea may make her the next target for murder. Faye and Amande, who are worried about Myrna, whose health is rapidly and suspiciously deteriorating, are convinced they need to find the killer before there’s another murder.
The emphasis on the spirit world makes this a bit of a departure from Evans’ usual historical and archaeological themes (Plunder, 2012, etc.), but it’s certainly a well-plotted and enjoyable mystery.