Near Cape Cod, Provincetown, with a gay resort, an art colony, and a working fishing port, has long been a place of freedom, escape, diversity, and risk. Mark Winslow, a Boston comic, arrives with his troupe of actors, ready to break into the Provincetown club circuit. But the town and the region are far from peaceful this summer.
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A young woman is found strangled, dressed in Victorian finery as if for high tea, in Mingo House, a morbid brownstone and museum, a 19th-century time capsule in Boston’s Back Bay. Dubbed the “Victorian Girl” by the media everywhere, she becomes the eye of a hurricane of publicity and speculation and of a darkness reaching back to the Mingo family’s roots in England and to the builders of the mansion, a Civil War arms dealer and his séance-holding wife.