It's a slow day at the office, so PI Madeline Maclin says "yes" when best pal Jerry Fairweather (estranged son of local money and would-be psychic) invites her to check out a house he has inherited in nearby Celosia, North Carolina. While Jerry imagines what a perfect setting for seances his spooky house will make, Mac is hired by the organizer of an annual beauty pageant to investigate some trouble.
When the leading contender for Miss Celosia High gets her neck broken at the dress rehearsal, the finger of suspicion points to petulant contestants, pompous judges, and a pious band of women's rights protestors. Mac, using her inside knowledge of tiaras and tiffs, is sure she can solve the case, but she never imagined that a real ghost would arrive at one of Jerry's readings-or that Jerry could be so dense.
Jane Tesh lives and writes in Mt. Airy, North Carolina.