Part occult-gothic, part murder-mystery--as antique-shop-owner Nell Singleton goes off to spend an English-country week with her old school-chum Thelma Morgan-Hope (the successful writer ""Morgan""). . . and, upon arrival, finds no sign of Morgan. What she does find: heaps of eerie atmosphere; a slow-witted housekeeper; and some of Morgan's friends--including the mysterious Robinsons, the unpleasant Carters (he's a mindless lecher, she's the loutish creator of a sugary cartoon-character), and coolly aristocratic Fay Spencer. So, when days pass with Morgan still a no-show, worried Nell puts in a call to a policeman friend, and Chief Inspector Henry Beaumont soon arrives--a tall, capable bachelor whose investigation focuses on the unfinished manuscript of Morgan's latest book and an old unsolved murder. (Plus: clues provided by Nell's psychic powers.) Slow, supernatural going, then--with heavily laid-on, creepy overtones--but first-novelist Atkins displays enough stylish sense of place and character to make this a readable debut. . . and to promise better things for the future.