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A Ghostly Undertaking

(Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,720 ratings  ·  335 reviews
A funeral, a ghost, a murder . . . It's all in a day's work for emma lee raines . . .

Bopped on the head from a falling plastic Santa, local undertaker Emma Lee Raines is told she's suffering from “funeral trauma.” It's trauma all right, because the not-so-dearly departed keep talking to her. Take Ruthie Sue Payne—innkeeper, gossip queen, and arch-nemesis of Emma Lee's gran
Paperback, 273 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Witness (first published June 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  1,720 ratings  ·  335 reviews

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Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was very disappointing. I read a lot of cozy mysteries and was looking forward to this story because an undertaker sounded like something different from the usual cooking/baking, sewing/knitting, or store owner/witch type of story which is so prevalent at the moment. Throw in an annoying ghost and it sounded like an interesting, fun mystery.

The characters in this book are some of the most one-dimensional I have ever encountered. There’s a vicious village gossip, a talkative
Sarah Booth
Apr 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Emma Lee is the mortician at a funeral home her family owns, she also experiences ghosts since a large plastic Santa fell on her head. Ruthie, is a battle ax everyone thought had an accident and fell down the stairs so she contacts Emma at while Emma is tying to conduct her funeral. Emma has not learned the skill of ignoring things others can’t see while others are around so everyone thinks she’s weird and says it’s “funeral trauma” which is small town speak for her being doolally. Just as Emma ...more
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Mon avis en Français

My English review

I was immediately attracted by the cover and I admit that I took the book before reading the synopsis. But how not to be drawn to it? A heroine working for a funeral company, humor and ghosts that are determined to haunt her until she helps them? Yes? Are you intrigued? I knew it! So as you can imagine, I spent a good time with this first volume and I’m curious to read more now.

Emma had an accident some time ago and has since hallucinations or at least t
I spotted this series a while back in reviews at Braine's Talk Supe blog and I always meant to try it because it sounded like my favorite type of cozy mystery with the southern charm, paranormal and romance elements added in. I finally got my kick in the pants when the audio edition came out recently and I was ready to give author, narrator, and ghost-seeing undertaker a go.

Emma Lee Raines has been able to see, hear, and speak to ghosts since an unfortunate incident when a full-size Santa decora
A Ghostly Undertaking by Tonya Knappes is 2015 Witness Impulse publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first book in the Ghostly Southern Mysteries series. I love ghost stories and cozy mysteries so I figured this one would be a perfect match for me. I loved the set up- Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, a young woman as a the funeral director, Emma Lee Raines, a murder, a ghost and maybe
After being rendered unconscious by a large plastic Santa Claus, Emma finds she has the ability to see dead people. Specifically people who have been murdered. Unfortunately for her now she is the only person in town who can see the town's number one busybody, Ruthie, and it's up to her to solve the crime before anyone else falls victim.

Along the way she enlists the help of Jack Henry, the town's policeman but with her grandma the number one suspect she has to walk a fine line between helping t
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just love Tonya's books! Her humor and personality is totally reflected in her writings, making each book a joy to read!
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was funny!

Emma Lee is one of two daughters who take care of the Eternal Slumber funeral home in Sleepy Hollow,
Kentucky. Her Granny, Zola Rae, and her parents took care of it before her and her sister Charlotte.

The funeral home is getting ready for the viewing of one of the town's prominent citizens, Ruthie Sue Payne co-owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn. Granny Zula is the other owner. Granny and Ruthie were at one time both married to Earl Way Payne. Granny was married to him when he died an
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Emma Lee Raines is your average girl, well average if you consider she is a beautician to corpses and can see ghosts. When a ghost comes and tells her they were murdered, Emma Lee feels that she must help the ghost solve their murder or be haunted by them forever. All this while Emma Lee's grandmother Zula Fae, keeps causing all shorts of outrageously funny trouble...with Emma Lee responsible for reining her in.

Southern hospitality and charm stream off the pages in this new mystery series. A Gh
Anna's Herding Cats
3.5 stars, 1.5 heat

A Ghostly Undertaking was a fun little trip into a new world from Kappes. Crazy families, a hearse driving heroine and a cutie cop!

The Gist: Emma Lee, well, she's about done with everything. Her crazy family that maybe offed the competition, the ghost in pink bedroom slippers that's haunting her,the gossiping town that's talking how she has the 'funeral trauma' and gone a little crazy, the oh so tempting cutie cop that's maybe gonna arrest her gran for murder. It's just. Reall
Talk Supe
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
What a fun cozy mystery!

I love the small town feel, the colorful townsfolk of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, all the gossiping, the family dynamic between Emma Lee and her grandma & sister, especially Ruthie's comments and persistent attitude. I gobbled A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING in one sitting!

The murder mystery gave me a good run around. I suck at solving cases like this so I gave up trying to figure things out. I instead enjoyed the ride and allowed Emma Lee and Ruthie solve the latter's murder for me
Jessica (a GREAT read)
I received this ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tonya Kappes is a new to me author, yet her books have apparently been around for awhile! A Ghostly Undertaking was initially published in 2013 but has been reprinted this year! I love me a good paranormal mystery! Murder mysteries combined with ghosts are just a delight! Though this one has all the right elements to it, I did find myself not quite as enthralled as I
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Emma Lee co-owns a funeral home with her sister. Emma recently suffered a head injury. Since the head injury, Emma can see ghosts not just any ghosts but ghosts who were murdered. Recently deceased Ruthie Sue died in what everyone believes was an accidental fall. However, Ruthie wants Emma to help find her killer. Everyone in town knows everything about everyone and gossip regularly. Most people in town believe Emma has a case of funeral trama and needs to seek medical help. Although Sheriff Jac ...more
I heard Tonya Kappes at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest last week, and her humor caught my attention. I bought the first in her Ghostly Southern mystery series, A Ghostly Undertaking, and I already have the second one, A Ghostly Grave. I have no regrets that I bought that first book. It was just as warm, funny, and charming as I expected it to be.

Emma Lee Raines and her sister, Charlotte Rae, share Director duties at the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. But, it was Emma L
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Awesome book by Tonya Kappes! I was hooked from the first page. I stayed up last night and read the whole book in one sitting. I love Emma Lee Raines, who works in the family business with her sister running the local Funeral Home. Emma had an accident and since then she can see ghosts. At first Emma Lee thinks the ghosts are hallucinations, until Ruthie comes to her own wake wearing her bunny slippers. Ruthie is her granny's nemesis and was married to granny's late husband. Ruthie tells ...more
Melissa I
I don't know how it's looked at for writing in the review section before you've read the book, however I 'had' to stop in here because I'd like my thoughts to be seen by those whom were part of sending me this book. Corny or not I just wish to express how I feel.

Thank you Harper Collins Publishers and William Morrow for this gift. I don't think I've ever in my life owned or read a "cozy mystery" before and this couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I just finished an amazing thriller last
Shelley Giusti
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Love,love,love! Tonya Kappes is a fabulous story teller and she has done it again with A Ghostly undertaking. A Cast of characters and a story so well written you will think you are right there in the midst of all the happenings. This charming whodunit will bring you hours of fun reading. You will be in captivated from the start and will eagerly be waiting the next book to find out what Emma and the gang will get into next. I am excited for the next one in this series.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)
I am a big fan of this author and I have been wanting to try this series so I was excited when I seen that Tantor Audio was going to have this one for review!

This was a lot of fun! I love a good southern cozy and I have a feeling that I am going to really enjoy this series once I get into and get to know the characters more. Emma Lee can see the dead and everyone thinks she has "funeral trauma" because nobody would believe she can actually see dead people. Not sure if she is in the right busines
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emma Lee is the co-owner of a funeral home. Ruthie Sue has recently passed has come to Emma lee asking for help as her death was an accident. Emma Lee has to find the killer so she can rest in peace.

Sleepy Hollow is a small town in KY. Everyone knows everything and gossips of course what to talk about anything exciting. People think Emma is a nutcase.

Can Emma keep everyone happy from her sister to her grandmother rules? Can she find the killer before it is too late?

Emma Lee and Sheriff Jack Hen
Jan 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars: A quick, fun cozy with ghosts!

Emma Lee rubs her head trying to stave off a headache. Ruthie Payne's funeral service is underway, and Emma as the funeral director, is trying to get through the funeral without going crazy. The reason for her headache is that she is being haunted by the deceased who is insistent that Emma Lee help find her killer. Ruthie tells Emma that she didn't fall down the steps of her inn, but she was pushed. Emma reluctantly agrees to help if that mea
Erin L
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A fun read. I was a huge fan of Casey Daniel's Pepper Martin series as well as southern cozies so this seemed like it would be right up my alley. I will read the next in the series, but I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would.
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Sounds a lot like the Pepper Dennis series. It'll be interesting to see just how much like it it actually is.


I tried not to, but I just kept comparing this book to the Pepper Dennis series and, unfortunately, I found it lacking.

Emma Lee Raines is an undertaker at the family business run by her and her sister in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. Ever since a plastic Santa fell on her head and hit her, she’s been able to see the dead. This time, it’s the recently departed Ruthie Sue Payne, a local i
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of "A ghostly undertaking" by Tonya Kappes

*** I was provided a digital review copy of this item by the publisher, all opinions contained in this review are my own honest opinions***

This is the first book in a new series featuring Emma Lee Raines, a 20-something funeral director. Emma Lee has always been pretty normal (well, as normal as a girl who grew up with funerals as the family business can be) but a bonk to the head from Santa ( a plastic Santa decoration, not the man in red himself
Literati Literature Lovers

i was afforded the opportunity to read an arc of a ghostly undertaking through a blog tour hosted by my fabulous friends at literati author services and i am so glad to have delved into the newly discovered world of tonya kappes.

sleepy hollow, kentucky is small town of zany kooks that you can’t help but fall in love with. gossip abounds and no one is more the center of that than funeral director, emma lee raines. the glorified nutcase of the town, she is a constant battle to hold true to her sou
Blodeuedd Finland
Emma runs a funeral home with her perfect sister. And Emma is not so perfect. A plastic Santa fell on her and now she can see dead people. Everyone in town whispers about her and are changing funeral homes. So it's not a good day to be her. I did feel like I would have wanted to see the whole santa thing, maybe a pre novella? But we were told so I am fine with it. Cos I do not like pre novellas anyway.

Right the dead people thing then. It's just one dead person. One annoying arch enemy of her gra
Sarah (Head Stuck In A Book)
The first in an all new series, A Ghostly Undertaking is what I'd call a cozy mystery, a genre which I've been meaning to get around to reading at some point, and this book finally gave me the chance to and I really loved it.

The concept and synopsis is what drew me in initially, I loved the idea of murders being investigated by a funeral director and the ghost of the murder victim, Emma Lee has been different ever since she was hit on the head by a plastic Santa, now she can see the spirit of Ru
Beth Cutwright
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fun read! This was mystery, paranormal and romance all rolled into one delightful book! And all of it came with a strong southern flair.

Kappes created a really quirky heroine in Emma Lee Raines, who of all things was a funeral home director, (the family business). Complicating the life and times of Emma Lee was a whole small southern town full of gossipy characters, including the ghost of Ruthie Sue Payne, a recent resident of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home. Emma Lee's life took a turn
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

I like the idea of a funeral director seeing and helping the dead. I love a good ghost story. Throw in some Southern charm, and you have the recipe for good book.

The story was humorous. There was no laughing out loud where your husband thinks you’re crazy, but the story made you smile a lot. The mystery portion of the book was good. There were enough clues to keep you thinking but they didn’t hit you over the head with who did it.
Alice Liu
I liked the concept of this book, but I felt like I was just reading the outline of what could have been a good book: It felt like a naive paranormal mystery that might have better been served by having a younger heroine. So much of Emma's character is reduced to the crazy woman with "funeral trauma" who gets judged for talking to herself (talking to ghosts), and judges herself by other people's opinions. Emma is not below judging others either, especially if they wear black clothing. It feels v ...more
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Click the FOLLOW button to be notified of Tonya Kappes's new and upcoming book releases. Her A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery has been optioned for film.

Tonya Kappes has written more than fifty southern cozy mysteries, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists, including USA Today . Best known for stories charged with southern charm, emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters,

Other books in the series

Ghostly Southern Mysteries (8 books)
  • A Ghostly Grave (Ghostly Southern Mysteries, #2)
  • A Ghostly Demise (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #3)
  • A Ghostly Murder (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #4)
  • A Ghostly Reunion (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #5)
  • A Ghostly Mortality (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #6)
  • A Ghostly Secret (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #7)
  • A Ghostly Suspect (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #8)

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