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The unnamed narrator, raised to beg for a living, develops a keen awareness of others, which she uses to great advantage. When the opportunity to become a "psychic" is offered, she can see all the advantages, and when 40-ish Susan Burke shows up plagued by a "haunted house", she sees regular employment.
And so our heroine visits the strange house biweekly to "cleanse" it with sage and all manner of other herbs, while observing Susan and her relationship with her seven-year-old son (loving) and her teenage stepson Miles (difficult). Is it the house or is it Miles?
Incidents pile on top of each other until the rapid-fire conclusion, which features enough twists to make you dizzy.