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The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

(Haunted Bookshop Mystery #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,973 ratings  ·  334 reviews
Penelope Thornton-McClure manages a Rhode Island bookshop rumored to be haunted. When a bestselling author drops dead signing books, the first clue of foul play comes from the store's full-time ghost - a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago.
Paperback, Berkley Prime Crime, 261 pages
Published February 2004 by Penguin (first published 2004)
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Sammy I noticed that in the first book of their coffeehouse series, but not in this one. I think they paint a really good picture in this book (Which I am…moreI noticed that in the first book of their coffeehouse series, but not in this one. I think they paint a really good picture in this book (Which I am reading because I love the Coffeehouse series so effing much). (less)

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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,973 ratings  ·  334 reviews

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Jennifer Tatroe
Jul 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, 2008
I started out loving this book. I mean, seriously, an unapologetic, 1940s, hard-boiled, ghost detective haunting a thirty-something bookstore owner? I'll take Jack Shepard in my head commenting on my gams any day. I'm probably a huge discredit to my women's studies minor, but there's just something about a guy in a fedora calling you a "doll" that gets me every time.

Sadly, the editing on The Ghost and Mrs. McClure was verging on horrible. The book is told in first person with occasional forays i
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Cleo Coyle, the pen name of husband-and-wife writing team Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini, and is primarily known for writing "The CoffeeHouse Mystery" series, has another series written under another pseudonym of Alice Kimberly. "The Haunted Bookshop" features a bookshop owner who finds herself solving mysteries with the help of the bookshop's longtime resident: the ghost of a private eye who was murdered there in 1949.

This first book in the series shares many similarities with "The Ghost and M
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
With the newest of this series coming out soon, I just had to start the series so I would know what the buzz about Jack Shepard was. I can definitely say I'm in love with that ghost, lol! What an amazing character! He and Pen worked well together as a sleuthing team...once he convinced her that she wasn't crazy and that yes, she really could hear him in her brain. Jack talked her through a very cool sting operation to get the perp to confess. It worked and the person who killed the famous author ...more
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well, I must say that I had fun reading this. The premise made me think of that movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

You have a newly opened bookshop, an author died at said bookshop and Penelope and her aunt along with Pen's son Spencer, running the store. All the while an investigation is going on surrounding the author's death. What happened? Any suspects? Add more to the widow's worries is ghost Jack Shepherd, haunting the bookstore.

I stayed up a little, to finish this. I had maybe a couple of cha
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly is the first book in the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series. Penelope Thornton-McClure runs a mystery bookshop with her aunt Sadie and when well known author Timothy Brennan is murdered during a book signing, the resident ghost, private investigator Jack Shepard urges Penelope to solve the case. I loved this book. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the bookstore. The mystery was intriguing and leisurely paced and I'm looking forward to reading ...more
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved how this story began - the 1940's feel with dames, Doll Face, and gams. The cozy genre rarely gives this type of atmosphere and the hard-boiled detective flare is a refreshing start to a new-to-me series.

Penelope Thorton-McClure (Pen to her friends) decides to move to Qunidicott, Rhode Island to help her aunt keep open a small and not very profitable family bookstore. With the small inheritance from her recently deceased husband, Pen and her young son move to this out of the way hamlet
"Baby, sounds to me like you're a picture being fitted for a frame, and the name of that frame is murder."

Hard-boiled detective, Jack Sheperd, meets contemporary bookseller, Mrs. McClure. One is very much alive, in the literal sense. The other, though without a pulse, is alive in a different sort of sense. A sense that leaves McClure thinking she's lost all of her marbles, and then some.

But oh what a delightful pair they make, in a literary whodunit sort of ghostly-good way.

As cozies go, base
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Nice little beginning to a ghost/cozy series. I loved the visualization of the book store that the main character, Mrs. McClure owns and operates. I love the ghost who is becoming her right hand detective towards the end. I look forward to other books in the series to see more of the ghost in her life. Using his intelligence, his wit and humor, his old time dialect like, "Sheatheart" and "Dame" ect.. Love it!
I got through the first 65 pages. That was more than enough. I'm actually going to return this to B&N. For 6.99 I should at least be able to read what I buy.

Boring, unoriginal characters who were described in each chapter, despite repeat information. Tissue-thin plot. Steroetypical sub-plot devices. I really wanted to like this, but I just couldn't. I like light reading, but this was too light for me.
Lauri Saplad
This was my introduction to the haunted bookshop. Very cute story about the ghost of a hardboiled detective a la 'The Maltese Falcon' helping a dame in distress not only solve a murder, but learn about life and how to stand up for herself. Can't wait to read the rest in the series!
Jun 07, 2008 rated it liked it
dont get shot in a book store
Kathy Davie
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, history, funny
First in the Haunted Bookshop mystery series set in a bookstore, Buy the Book, in Quindicott, Rhode Island.

The Story
The second item on the agenda is booking an author appearance with Timothy Brennan, author of that very popular detective series, Jack Shield, when his latest book, Shield of Justice comes out. With such a popular author, Pen hopes it will help put Buy the Book a bit higher up on the map not expecting that the author will drop over dead and incite a frenzy of book buying.

It takes t
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think Jack Shepard must be the world‘s sexiest ghost. A rough and tough ghost murdered in the 1940’s, he comes through to save the day and the bookstore. The writing was witty and fresh and I actually laughed out loud a few times.
This is one that you almost have to read straight through because you just keep wanting to read another chapter and then another chapter. Can’t wait to really get into this series.
Aug 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2005
After her husband kills himself, Penelope Thornton-McClure, moved to Rhode Island with her seven year old son, Spencer, and buys into her aunt's bookstore. She arranges an appearance in the store by Timothy Brennan, author of a series of books based on the real-life unsolved murder of private eye Jack Shepard in that very location. Brennan, who turns out to be a jerk, chokes and dies during his talk at the store. There are plenty of suspects, including Penelope herself, who handed Brennan the ta ...more
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenges-2014
SUMMARY: Penelope Thornton-McClure manages a Rhode Island bookshop rumored to be haunted. When a bestselling author drops dead signing books, the first clue of foul play comes from the store's full-time ghost-a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago.
Is he a figment of Pen's overactive imagination? Or is the likable, fedora-wearing specter the only hope Pen has to solve the crime?

REVIEW: In a wonderful blend of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Philip Marlow, the ghost of Jack Shepherd
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Ghost and Mrs McClure is the first in the paranormal cozy mystery series by Alice Kimberly.

Penelope McClure and her son are settling back in her home town after the death of her husband. She's co-owner of her aunts bookstore now, and trying to turn a profit. Unfortunately her first author on your turns up dead and the police are pointing their fingers at her and she must solve the murder before she's arrested!

I don't usually read paranormal cozy mysteries but if this book is an indication t
A very cute story, a light mystery featuring a young female co-owner of a bookstore (Penelope) and the murdered detective who haunts the bookstore (Jack).
When a best-selling author drops dead during a book signing at the newly re-vamped bookstore Penelope thinks the bookstore will fail but the opposite happens as people now are anxious to procure a book by this author from the location in which he died. When it looks like murder rather than a heart attack the crowds go wild purchasing books. Bu
May 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
Even though I read every word of this paperback, I couldn't help thinking every time I picked it up that the book was definitely a waste of my time. Bluntly speaking, I conclude that it is a terrible disappointment for a cozy mystery. I wholeheartedly agree with another review listed here that Chapter 15, Penelope's dream was totally unnecessary, adding absolutely nothing to the novel. I also thought Chapter 12 -- Penelope stumbling around in a chat room -- was useless as well. It will probably ...more
John Leasure
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The beginning of a series of mysteries which are essentially American cozies. Very good writing and a solid series concept make this a good read. The mystery revolves around the death/murder of a famous detective crime writer based on the files of a real detective killed in the 1940s. So happens he was killed in the building which is now a bookstore and he is haunting it. Mrs. McClure is a young widow raising her son above her aunts once failing bookstore. FIlled with great characters and twists ...more
Feb 18, 2013 marked it as did-not-finish
I gave this 40 pages and quit. The 1940's hard boiled detective dialogue was so over the top that it was ridiculous. I thought it was meant to be farcical but as I kept reading I realized it was serious. The main character, Penelope, didn't hold my interest and I decided to not waste any more time on this one.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it liked it
A cute, easy read. I enjoyed the ghost helping solve the mystery in the book. I'll probably try the second in the series to see if I want to continue reading them.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Cleo Coyle, Penelope Thornton-McClure, recently widowed when her husband jumped from their building, has returned to her hometown of Quindecot, Rhode Island to help her Aunt Sadie try to save the family bookstore, which they rename Buy the Book. Pen, as she is known, is thrilled to get famous author Timothy Brennan to come to their bookstore on his tour to promote his newest book, Shield of Justice, featuring Detective Jack Shield, based upon 1940s detective Jack Sh ...more
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one took me a bit to get into and understand who was who. But once that was all straight in my head is was a fun read.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Ghost & Mrs. McClure is a delightful cozy mystery centering on the main character of Penelope Thornton-McClure. A survivor of the harsh publishing world, Penelope makes the life-changing decision to leave New York City with her son Spencer, and, using the life insurance money from her husband’s death, becomes co-owner of her aunt’s independent bookshop in a small town in Rhode Island.

Determined to save the bookshop from closing and create a simpler life for herself and her son, Penelope
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
It took a few chapters to absorb this new environment and first journey with Alice Kimberley. I long ago tired of 18 year-old heiresses, or sassy singles but don’t relate to Moms or divorcées either. At last, Penelope McClure is a character that meets in the middle. It didn’t take long to like this protagonist: nearer my age, flipping the bird at opinionated in-laws to pursue her own business. She had an unhappy marriage but more originally, she is a widow of suicide and her son neatly fits into ...more
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Definitely
I really loved this book. It finally was based on a cozy mystery scenario that so far had not been repeated over and over in other books which simply changed the locations and career choices of the main character, but were all basically the same in the end.

There were some editing issues, as mentioned in another review. Additional ones included two people having quotations in the same paragraph and I think there was some confusion about the quoted sentences in Pen’s head when she was talking to
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked this book well enough, and it is more like 31/2 stars for me. It would have been higher except for the fact that the author tries a little too hard, so much to the fact that it seems forced, to sound like a hard boiled detective novel with the character of Jack Shepard, the ghost in the title. Yes, he was a private eye in the 1940's and has been a ghost for many years, but not everyone talked like that all the time! It became tedious for me to slog through what exactly he was saying at t ...more
Aug 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
The title is no coincidence. This is an homage (or rip off) of the Ghost and Mrs. Muir, only instead of a salty sea captain, the ghost is a salty private investigator. Actually, I should say he is a private dick, because that's probably what he would have said. He was murdered in a bookstore while working a case in a small Rhode Island town in 1949. Now he's helping a young widow with a son solve the murder of a crime story novelist in her book store. Much like the film, there are meddling in-la ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly 1 10 Jun 19, 2015 03:07AM  
  • The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (Haunted Bookshop Mystery, #6)
  • Night of the Living Deed (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery, #1)
  • Sketch Me If You Can (A Portrait of Crime Mystery, #1)
  • Haunting Jordan (Port Chatham Mystery #1)
  • Homicide in Hardcover (Bibliophile Mystery, #1)
  • Tempest in the Tea Leaves (A Fortune Teller Mystery, #1)
  • Cooking Up Murder (A Cooking Class Mystery, #1)
  • Wreath of Deception (Craft Corner, #1)
  • Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind for Murder, #1)
  • Defending Angels (Beaufort & Company, #1)
  • Fundraising the Dead (Museum, #1)
  • Fatal Fixer-Upper (A Do-It-Yourself Mystery, #1)
  • Pleating for Mercy (A Magical Dressmaking Mystery, #1)
  • Words With Fiends (Black Cat Bookshop Mystery, #3)
  • The Trouble With Witches (Ophelia & Abby, #3)
  • Bookmarked For Death (Booktown Mystery, #2)
  • Candy Apple Dead (A Candy Shop Mystery, #1)
Marc Cerasini and Alice Alfonsi, a popular husband-and-wife writing team, were born and raised in Pittsburgh, met in New York City, and married in Las Vegas. Together they've authored a number of bestselling books.

As Cleo Coyle, they write The Coffeehouse Mysteries, including the number-one and number-two Independent Mystery Booksellers Association bestsellers On What Grounds and Through the Grind

Other books in the series

Haunted Bookshop Mystery (6 books)
  • The Ghost and the Dead Deb (Haunted Bookshop Mystery, #2)
  • The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library (Haunted Bookshop Mystery, #3)
  • The Ghost and the Femme Fatale (Haunted Bookshop Mystery, #4)
  • The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion (Haunted Bookshop Mystery, #5)
  • The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (Haunted Bookshop Mystery, #6)