Mel (short for Melanie, which she doesn't like ) Turner is a contractor who can communicate with the spirits of the dead and the word has spread in spite of her effort to keep a low profile. There is the rumor that the Bernini home is haunted and the new owners want to turn it into a haunted bed-an-breakfast. All sorts of problems arise as Mel looks into this old home that she wants to restore. There is a competitor who badly wants the job of restoring this home and to help the new owners decide who should do the restoration, an odd recommendation is that Mel and her competitor have to spend one night in the house in order to win the project.
There are many twists and turns in this plot, including a young girl who is 100 years old and whom no one can see but Mel. During the sleepover, someone dies and there are so many characters in this plot that it's hard to imagine who might have done it. The neighborhood is one in San Francisco, a progressive city if ever there was one in this country. The descriptions of the inside of the old house were fascinating and real, as well as the long list of eccentric characters who are odd, charming. and fun to get to know.
There's a lot of detail as well as whimsy and colorful dialogue as the plot thickens. It's interesting to learn about the equipment of people who can communicate with ghosts.
While it's possible to read this paranormal mystery as fantasy, it also can be read to ask relevant questions about other dimensions. It begs questions about consciousness (it isn't quantifiable), time, eternity, mystery in life, and the very real possibility of an invisible reality that we've been programmed to ignore. People who say that ghosts aren't real may not be using the right criteria: None of our emotions can be scientifically quantified or proved, yet they are real. Our senses aren't reliable and are certainly not the only way to identify reality.
Anyone with a questioning mind can find a lot to chew on in paranormal mysteries and Blackwell is reliably good at storytelling and teasing questions from us regarding other dimensions and their inhabitants—like ghosts !
FTC Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher.