Old ghosts are ingeniously resurrected when eleven-year-old David Stanley's father remarries and a new stepsister, Amanda, comes to live in the family's recently purchased house, where a cupid on the bannister has been mysteriously headless since previous residents endured a poltergeist manifestation in 1896. Amanda, twelve and heavily into the occult, arrives in outlandish ceremonial regalia; her baggage includes a caged crow (her familiar), a heavy load of free-floating resentment, and an inordinate share of composure. Though she doesn't speak to the grown-ups, Amanda initiates the four Stanley children into her cult after an amusing series of ordeals. Then Mr. Stanley leaves on an extended business trip and the poltergeist reappears; just as David deduces that his obstinate stepsister is behind all the smashing and clattering that is distressing her mother, the missing cupid head rolls down the stairs and even imperturbable Amanda loses her cool. Later, unknown to the reformed Amanda, David discovers that four-year-old Blair had found and dropped the head; but before readers can register the let-down that commonly follows such rational explanation, a revelation from Blair (who has already demonstrated a talent for ESP) provides just the ambiguous ending needed to cap a roundly satisfying and judiciously grounded ghost story.