It’s 1917 England and Kate Cartwright works in intelligence. Her boss, simply known as C, instructs her to attend a house party at Blackwater Abbey and to take her fiancé with her. Two problems: Kate has already declined the invitation to the house party, and she broke off her engagement. C tells her too bad, her presence at Blackwater Abbey is a matter of national security. Top-secret weapons plans from England have been discovered in Berlin, and C has heard that the traitor or traitors will be at the house party. C sends a man known as Captain Donovan with Kate to lead the mission.
Blackwater Abbey is owned by Lord and Lady Highmount, who are friends of Kate’s parents. The Highmounts are also the parents of Kate’s deceased fiancé, Reginald. The other guests at the party are the Highmount’s daughter, Kate’s parents, a soldier named Sims, Sims’s doctor, and two mediums. The Highmounts lost both sons in the war, and Kate and her parents lost her brother. The goal of the weekend is to contact the dead sons.
Kate is not happy to be returning to Blackwater Abbey, and not just because she doesn’t want to spend the weekend pretending to be engaged to her annoying ex. Kate can see ghosts and Blackwater Abbey is full of them. On a previous trip, something embarrassing happened with Kate and the ghosts, and she’s afraid it will happen again. Annoying, the embarrassing incident Kate previously had at Blackwater Abbey is never explained.
A House of Ghosts suffers from an uneven tone. The cozy parts are delightful, and the spy subplot worked surprisingly well within the cozy framework. The ghost story was the main problem. The ghost sections were much more serious than the murder mystery and spy mystery. Something very dark happens near the end of the novel, which left a bad impression on me. I probably could have overlooked the unevenness if it hadn’t been for that scene.