|The Magic Nation Thing|
Abby is twelve and lives in San Francisco with her mother Dorcas, who is a private investigator, described as one of the best in California. Her parents divorced when Abby started kindergarten; they sold the large house they owned, her father moving to Los Angeles, and her mother starting up a detective agency. Since then, Dorcas and Abby have been living in a small apartment behind the agency's office in modest circumstances.
Dorcas wishes that her daughter would take over the agency some day, and mentions that Abby has a special gift, able to read people's minds and find missing persons or objects, that she supposedly inherited from her ancestors, and would come very handy in investigations. Dorcas herself did at one point have powers but as she aged it went away. Abby apparently did. However, the girl has no interest in using such powers to make a career, rather preferring a normal family life.
The chapter ends with Abby preparing to go to school while thinking about the divorce of her parents.