A Mind Reader’s Christmas, Chapter Summaries

This is a private page for CritiqueCircle critiquers only.

On this page, you’ll find a one-sentence description of the book, a blurb, a list of characters, and a scene-by-scene plot summary.

Please read only the summaries for the chapters preceding the one you will be critting.

One-Sentence Description

A Mind Reader’s Christmas is a paranormal mystery in which mind readers Eric Beckman and his daughter, Cosmina, investigate strange happenings in a small Vermont town only to find that some of the residents of the town are … ghosts.

An Early Draft of the Blurb

Eric Beckman, a mind-reading private investigator, is spending Christmas in snowy Vermont with his wife and daughter. He needs a break from solving cases, but the townspeople convince him to look into the village mystery: Every holiday season, someone switches the baby Jesus with one of the other figures in the Town’s nativity scene.

With the help of his nine-year-old daughter, also a mind reader, he soon learns that some of the residents of the small town are not who—or even what—they seem to be. There’s something supernatural going on in Newburn, Vermont.

His investigation causes an escalation of strange happenings, and soon, swapped manger figures are the least of the town’s worries. If Beckman can’t adjust his view of the world—force himself to believe in things he never thought possible—the Christmas vacation could turn out to be his family’s last.

A Mind Reader’s Christmas may be read as a standalone book or as Book Four in the Eric Beckman series.

List of Characters


He owns the general store in Newburn. Minorchar

Blayke Thurston

He’s a lawyer. It’s complicated.

Cosmina Beckman

She is Eric’s nine-year-old daughter.

Eric Beckman

Main Character. He’s a PI who can read minds, and he’s married to Viviana. MajorChar


She’s the waitress at the Dixie Diner.

Father MacNeil

He is the priest at the church that has the nativity scene

Gormley Vaynor

He’s the ghost. It’s complicated.


He is the newslady’s dead boyfriend.

Imogene Thurston

The mother of … it’s complicated.

xxLuete McDonald

She’s sixteen and Delmer’s fellow conspiracy theorist. MajorChar

Melrose Dani

He is a seance medium.

Peggy Barbera

Peggy is Eric’s investigative assistant. She’s a cross dresser (that is, she’s really a male). MajorChar

Samuel Ticknor

He is a hermit monk who lives in a small stone hut in the forest.

Viviana Petki Beckman

She’s Eric’s wife. She used to be a jewel thief. MajorChar

Woman From 1900

Eric sees this woman on the street. She turns out to be a ghost.

Chapter Summaries


Scene: Dog Attack

A dog attacks Cosmina when she is sledding, but she prevents the attack using her mind control.

Scene: Eric & Viv Discuss Cosmina’s Talent

Eric and Viviana discuss whether C knows of her power, and if not, whether they should tell her. Mention the anti-aging drug.


Scene: Family Breakfast

E, C, and V have breakfast. The scene develops the characters and shows how they interact.

Scene: Eric Asked to Solve Mystery

Eric sees a gray-coated woman who disappears. When a townsperson learns that Eric is a PI, he insists that Eric solve the town’s mystery: someone is switching figures in the manger scene. Eric says “no thanks.”

Scene: Eric Helps C Practice Mind Reading

Eric gives Cosmina a mind-reading lesson. She reads the thoughts of someone who isn’t there.


Scene: Someone Else Asks Eric to Solve Mystery

E, V, and C have breakfast at a diner. Another townsperson suggests he solve the mystery. Eric sees the gray-coat woman. He can’t read her thoughts, but Cosmina can!

Scene: Eric Helps Viv Practice Resistance

He wants her to be able to resist mind control for when Cosmina discovers her talent.


Scene: Family Discusses Taking Case

Eric, Viviana, and Cosmina all talk about whether Eric should take the case or not. Viviana tells a ghost story.


Scene: Eric Meets Samuel

While hiking alone, Eric runs into Samuel, a large man dressed as a monk. He convinces Eric that he should take the case.

Scene: Cosmina Relates Play Date

Cosmina tells Eric and Viviana about a play date. It’s pretty clear that she’s using her mind control abilities without realizing it.


Scene: Eric and Viv Discuss Cosmina’s Talent Again

In bed, Eric and Viviana talk more about whether Cosmina knows of her skill.

Scene: Eric Watches Video of Manger

Eric watches a video of the manger scene, but it is of bad quality, with slow frames. It doesn’t show anything.

Scene: Eric Decides to Take the Case

At breakfast, Eric takes a vote and his girls outvote him. He decides to take the case. He calls Peggy and convinces her to come.

Scene: Eric Meets with Priest

Priest says it’s a sacrilege, and he won’t allow cameras on the church grounds. They argue. Cosmina unwittingly uses her power to convince him.


Scene: Peggy Arrives

Reader meets Peggy. She arrives at the airport, Eric picks her up and fills her in.

Scene: Eric Learns Cosmina Can Read Thoughts He Can’t

Eric and Cosmina practice mind reading. They see a ghost when at the diner. C can read his thoughts, E cannot.


Scene: Cosmina Gets Birds & Bees Talk

Eric and Viviana teach Cosmina about the birds and the bees.

Scene: Eric & Peggy Set up Video Cameras

Eric and Peggy set up video cameras at the manger scene. They discuss Cosmina’s power.

Scene: Eric & Peggy Watch Overnight

Eric and Peggy spend the night in front of the nativity scene, watching. But they fall asleep and miss it. Peggy pees in her pants.

Scene: They Watch Surveillance Video

When they view Eric’s video, the switch is made very quickly. But they are able to see the ghost


Scene: Surveillance Video Part 2

They are able to zoom in on the ghost’s face, they watch the rest of the exchange on the video.

Scene: Eric & Samuel, Second Meeting

Eric meets up with Samuel again. He gives his perspective on the video

Scene: Cosmina Talks with Ghost

Eric and Cosmina go for a showshoe hike. They practice mind reading. Going past the ruins, Cosmina has a conversation with a ghost. She sends the ghost to heaven. Peggy has a recording of the ghost from the seance. He says “I am alive.”


Scene: Eric Affected by Ghost

Eric and Cosmina go visit the manger. Cosmina is too close, Eric jumps over the manger to push her away, and the ghost grabs him by the ankle, freezing his foot.

Scene: They Interview a Medium

They hire a medium, but he is a fraud. No help. They decide to do the seance themselves.


Scene: Seance Reveals Ghost Name

They have a seance, and several spirits attend. In the morning, they see that the manger ghost wrote on the ceiling: Call me Blayke. I am alive!!!


Scene: Ghost Switches Baby Bear

They go over the videos, etc. In the morning, the news reporter comes and tells them that a bear was found in the manger. He gives her a paper written by her dead boyfriend (from the seance).

Scene: Samuel Guides Eric’s Research

Samuel gives some hints as to what Eric should research. He reveals that he can read minds. He tells a story that warns of what could happen if Cosmina learns of her power.


Scene: Town Condemns Nativity Scene, Ghost Goes Wild

Because of what happened in the nativity scene, the city closes it down. V, C, and E have a nice evening of Christmas activities.

Scene: Eric Wakes with Newswoman

Eric wakes up in a bed with the newswoman. It turns out that everyone in the town has been switched with someone else.


Scene: Cosmina Gets Warnings from the ghost

Cosmina interacts with the ghost and finds that it is angry but can’t communicate well. Peggy explains why she’s a cross-dresser.

Scene: Eric Does Research in Town Archives

Eric checks the county archives, and locates a record of Blayke’s birth. His full name is Blayke Thurston.


Scene: Eric Interviews Blayke

Eric interviews Blayke Thurston and puts the puzzle pieces together. He gets a DNA sample.

Scene: Eric Interviews Imogene

Eric and Peggy talk to Blayke’s mother, and P surreptitiously collects a DNA sample. They have it tested, and she is NOT the mother of Blayke Thurston.


Scene: Eric Finds Gormley Vaynor

Armed with his theory, Eric and Peggy go back to Newfane and find information on Gormley Vaynor. Eric describes his theory as to what happened.

Scene: Meeting to Plan

E, P, V, and C meet to figure out what to do. They decide they will have a seance at the ruins of the orphanage on Christmas Eve.


Scene: Showdown in Ghostworld

They get Gormley to go to the light, but then they are grabbed by a demon.

Ghost battles Eric and Cosmina. Ghost takes them into ghostworld. Eric tells her she can influence it, but her influence fails. She instead uses it to force Eric to go back home to V. Samuel arrives and saves them.

Scene: Eric Finds that Samuel Died Years Ago

Eric goes to visit Samuel’s house, but finds that it is only an old ruin. He finds a note from him. Samuel was his ancestor and Cosmina is special.