On this nice July morning in Parkland, North Carolina, the office of Madeline Maclin Investigations might as well have been an Egyptian tomb: hot, dusty, and dead. It doesn't help that her landlord Reid Kent, does a brisk businessand briskly hits on Mac to rejoin his agency. He maintains one will hire a former Miss Parkland as a serious PI.
Mac has been friends forever with Jerry Fairweather. Jerry claims to be psychic and is, unlike his two brothers, somewhat screwy. And he refuses to claim a share in the Fairweather fortune. But he shares some good news with Mac -- his Uncle Val has died and left him a house. The two friends drive out to Celosia, a half hour away, where they discover a local beauty pageant in trouble and a house just perfect for setting up shop. A Psychic Shop. The arrival of lawyer Olivia, Jerry's shark-like girlfriend, rouses both Mac's interest in the mystery at the pageant and the one in her own heart. And then comes the first murder.
A Case of Imagination is Jane Tesh's playful first mystery, the start of a series by an author who admires Terry Pratchett, Martha Grimes, Carl Hiaasen, and P.G. Wodehouse.