Hotelier Virginia Carpenter calls in Jeff and Jeannie to investigate the macabre, mysterious deaths of two of her guests, an event which has caused the hotel to be visited by other interested parties. Margaret Hooper, an eccentric medium, Roger Whale, a has-been reporter out for a story to kick start his career and Browning, a self-satisfied ghost hunter. Jeannie gets possessed by the faceless ghost of Sonia Cronenberg, a woman who died in the building fifty years earlier along with Captain James Romero, her lover. The two murdered Sonia's lover and planned to escape but were killed in a fire, and have been haunting the hotel since attempting to find new bodies, causing a number of others to die.
After encouragement from Wyvern, Marty returns following the events of A Man of Substance and refreshes Jeff's memory, before informing him that the hotel appears to be slipping back in time to the 1950s. To their mutual surprise, he can be seen by the cynical Roger Whale, who gains access to the room in which the murders have taken place. As they investigate, Marty and Roger encounter the spectre of a burning man, who drains Marty of much of his energy.
That night, Jeannie seduces Jeff while Wyvern informs Marty of the nature of the spirits that dwell in the hotel; not true ghosts, but creatures that cling to a wrinkle in time hoping to cheat death. As the mediums prepare for an exorcism, Jeannie convinces Jeff to help her reenact the night of Sonia and James' death. Jeff confesses that he slept with Jeannie to Marty, who is thrown from the room by the exorcism. He returns to the room with Roger in time to witness the possession, during which time Roger is killed by a heart attack.
Jeannie and Jeff leave the hotel, speaking in the voices of Sonia and James. However, it soon becomes clear that Marty has possessed Jeff, causing Sonia to leave the hotel, where she finally fades away. He returns to find Roger has kept Jeannie's spirit safe in his own body, before he fades away, smiling. The detectives leave the hotel, though Marty is surprised to find Wyvern outside, chatting with Virginia Carpenter, who thanks him for freeing her hotel of ghosts.
All the main characters are named after horror directors.