Eighth grader Gilda Joyce has found a way to ease the pain of losing her father and maintain a connection with him; she has decided to become a psychic investigator. With her Master Psychic's Handbook and the typewriter her father gave her, Gilda is ready to take on the spiritual world.
This summer Gilda's psychic sensibilities (a tickle in her left ear) lead her to San Francisco to a distant relative’s house. At the end of the school year, Gilda's teacher asks everyone what they are doing for summer vacation. When Gilda suddenly blurts out that she is going to San Francisco to visit her relative, Lester Splinter, she must quickly devise a plan to get her mother, and Lester, to agree. However, in true Gilda fashion, she successfully gets herself invited and sets off for the unknown.
While in Lester's house Gilda encounters footsteps that seem to emanate from the walls and is haunted by the memory of death. With Lester's daughter, Juliet, as a companion, the two forge a friendship with one common goal: uncover the mystery surrounding the death of Juliet's Aunt Melanie.
The story teases the reader with its ghostly sightings, eerie sounds and settings; ghostly footsteps that come out of the wall, forbidden, locked towers and a mysterious death. Each spooky element is quietly slipped in and threaded throughout the story like a tapestry. From the moment you open the book to the very last chapter, Allison grabs you. The prologue is written by Gilda and she begins it this way: "If you've ever been in a real haunted house (not one of the fake ones with recorded screams and ghosts projected from cameras), you know that they're very quiet."
What's different about Allison's book from your typical ghost story is that there is an element of truth to it. Everything has an explanation, and rather than bang us over the head with it, Allison allows us, and her characters, to discover the real truth behind the hauntings.
But it's more than just the thrill of the narrative that keeps this story going. The characters are both plausible and likeable.