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British author Mackesy (The Temp) deftly juggles two realities-the natural and the supernatural-in her compelling debut mystery. Desperate for income and a place to hide from an abusive ex-husband, Londoner Bridget Sweeny takes a job as the caretaker of a Cornish manor that's now a hotel, Rospetroc. Accompanying Bridget is her young daughter, Yasmin, who soon becomes the confidante of a ghost-Lily, a nine-year-old refugee from Hitler's blitzkrieg who vanished while boarding with Rospetroc's long-dead mistress during WWII. Lily, who does palpable damage to the premises, becomes a second source of terror for Bridget. Mackesy's stream-of-consciousness narrative successfully delineates these characters' inner lives, though at first most function as stock figures-the mother frightened for her child, the brutal husband, the plucky best friend. But Mackesy's prose-spare, taut and robust as haiku-lessens the implausibility of the novel's resolution. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.