Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “If Walls Could Talk (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #1)” as Want to Read:
If Walls Could Talk (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

If Walls Could Talk

(Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,972 ratings  ·  430 reviews
Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now her reputation may be on the line.

At her newest project, a run-down Pacific Heights mansion, Mel is visited by the ghost of a colleague who recently met a bad end with power tools. Mel hopes that by nailing the killer, she can rid herself of the ghostly
Paperback, 316 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by NAL (first published October 25th 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,972 ratings  ·  430 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of If Walls Could Talk (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #1)
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked these things in the enjoyable If Walls Could Talk:

1. Woo-woo element unobtrusively woven into the narrative.
2. Nifty descriptions and atmosphere of the San Francisco setting.
3. Heroine adopts a rescue dog.
4. Warm portrayal of her family life and friends.
5. Lots of interesting details about doing old house renovations.
Melanie Turner remodels homes. Not just any homes....historic San Francisco homes. Rejuvenating properties to their former glory is Melanie's favorite thing to do. She's taken on a problematic project this time. A dilapidated Pacific Heights mansion needs a makeover. The property owner attempts a drunken DIY session that ends with a death by power tool. Melanie steps in to help finish the remodel work, but the dead man's ghost won't leave her alone. She begins investigating to save her ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I really enjoy cozy mysteries. I've read reviews where people complain of the predictably of them, but that's the kind of books they are. Just like romances, they are completely predictable. It's the characters that make these mysteries what they are. I wanted to give this series a chance since I completely loved The Paris Key by Blackwell. I admit there were moments that kind of bored me, mainly all the house construction talk. (I only enjoy that if The Property Brothers are on) But I did, ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
So, this one took me more time to get into than the series about a witch who runs a vintage clothing store. But once I did, I might like it better almost? IDK.

There's something about a former anthropologist/academic who (after an incomplete PhD and a messy divorce) runs a construction company that specializes in renovating older homes. And can apparently talk to ghosts, due to hereditary gifts.

IDK. It's working for me.
This is one of those books that I wasn’t sure what I thought about it while I was listening to it and then when it was over I started to immediately think about getting the next one. The more I thought I about it the more I realized I actually really liked it. The characters were interesting, the case was interesting and the narrator was good.

Mel has got to be one of the most unique individuals in books that I been introduced to recently. I enjoyed her chemistry with the other characters, her
Surprisingly good for a cozy mystery. There is a lot of San Francisco history, such as The Emperor, brought in to buttress the plot. The prosaic details on the high levels of renovation were well done, too. I get the feeling the author actually spent some time redoing an old house as the general contractor or involved homeowner. It made for a unique, interesting setting.

The more gritty details, such as actual construction weren't nearly as well done. For instance, there's no need to set up a
SheriC (PM)
The only other cozy mystery series I’ve tried was not very satisfying, so I had low expectations coming into this one. But what a pleasant surprise! The author introduces each character with descriptions that drew a clear picture in my mind and also gave some hint of what was to come. I learned a little history and felt some of the MC’s enthusiasm for her work in restoring historic homes. The whodunnit was not especially difficult to figure out before it was revealed, but the journey to get ...more
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Read/Listened for Fun (Physical Copy, Kindle, and Audible)
Overall Rating: 4.00
Story Rating: 3.75
Character Rating: 4.25

Audio Rating: 4.50 (Not part of the overall rating)

First Thought when Finished: I was actually redoing a room while listening and this just added to the fun factor!

Story Thoughts: Poor Melanie! All she wants to do is disappear to France and go native for a bit. Family responsibilities though prevent that and so she is now running the family's remodeling historic houses business.
Kim Kaso
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really fun book involving restoration of historic homes, ghosts, and myriad mentions of my extended neighborhood, the Bay Area. Interesting characters, fast, light read. Perfect for alternating with something heavier, a mood enhancer. I will read more in the series. Recommended if you like not-quite cosy mysteries--work boots & buzz saws rather than knitting and a quiet poisoning.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fun paranormal cozy mystery....
Melanie is in the business of renovating historical houses, but her latest project might be cursed and definitely is haunted... really liked Melanie, her father, and her probable love interest.... I also really enjoyed the way the ghost part of this was done, quite realistic.... funny enough the most character growth in the book was with the ghost, I guess that dying teaches you some life lessons.... looking forward to see what direction this series
Melanie Turner, who remodels old historical homes in
the San Francisco area, had a heart desire to go to
But instead she has taken over her family’s restoration
& renovation business. She has just taken on restoration
of a mansion in the Pacific Heights area.
A horrible occurrence happens at the Mansion with a man
losing his life. Her friend, Matt ends up in jail after the
man dies. But Matt is innocent and Melanie is going to
prove it. The ghost of the dead man comes to Melanie.
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thid was a surprise. I picked it up not expecting anything at all, I just thought construction urban fantasy sounded like fun. It was a grounded, non-flippant story with a pinch of the paranormal. And I liked it. The characters felt real, they were multidimensional and had problems and made mistakes and everything was not great and fluffy all the time. It felt less goody-two-shoes and vomit-worthy than many other of its genre mates.
Sandie Laughner
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book!! I've had it in my bookcase for several years~~ I'm now reading the whole series. :)
Just a great story line all the way around. A chick who is running a construction company, knows how to use power tools, and a gun!! Plus, she can see, talk to, and hear ghosts!! My kinda gal!!
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a cute, cozy series that has a good murder mystery to give it some weight. Good characters that are not too silly and can carry a ghost story. Xe Sands is so great with these cozy's. Perfect cadence with interesting voices to bring all to life.
The Rule of Three has hit Melanie Turner pretty hard in the last two years. First, there was her divorce after a 10-year rocky marriage. Then, her beloved mother died suddenly of heart failure. And thirdly, Melanie had to take over the reins of Turner Construction after her mother’s death devastated her father so deeply that he no longer wished to run his own company.

Fortunately, Mel grew up at her father’s side in the company and knows her way not only around tools but around the paperwork
So, I thought I would give this series a chance as I really like Juliet Blackwell's other series, A Witchcraft Mystery. For me, this one didn't fully hit the mark. It was a little bit all over the place, as the main protagonist, Mel, has a lot going on in her life, and maybe that's why it felt a bit disjointed.

Mel has gone through a messy divorce that she is not totally over, her mother has passed away, and she has inherited her father's renovation business temporarily, supposedly. She longs for
Kate Powers
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A solid 3.5.

A home renovation mystery with ghosts - I’m in! It was fun to listen to on audio because it felt like semi-spooky “story-time” for 7 hours.

This would have been a 4 for me if the main character wasn’t a total “Tom girl who grew into her looks” stereotype. There was so much emphasis on her scandalous outfits in the beginning - I had to check back to see if the author was actually a male.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nook, mystery, 2019
This was a pretty fun read for a rainy week in October. The story involves the renovation of a historic haunted house, a severed hand, a mysterious death and sightings of ghosts. It sounds really scary and gory, but it's really a fun read. I was surprised that there were actually passages about the process of restoring old homes included in the story. Reading this was like watching the Halloween version of an HGTV episode.
May 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This paranormal cozy has an interesting premise: home renovation meets haunted house. Protagonist Mel, as in Melanie, Turner is a thirty-eight year old divorcee who takes over her father's construction business after her mother passes away. She has an apparent love for returning grand old homes in the San Francisco area back to their former glory. She gets along great with her crew and suppliers. Still, she is quick to say that she hopes her dad will come back to the business soon so she can ...more
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I started reading and was about 11-12 pages in I just wasn't sure I was going to like this book but then it just hit me and I couldn't put it down. What a great read and a very interesting mystery. And add a very funny ghost, some history on gems and diamonds and you have a great cozy. Mel takes over the family construction business after her mother died and her father couldn't handle it. Mel checks on the renovations of her friend Matt's new house only to have one of their friends die. ...more
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal, cozy, own
I read this book first in 2014. It was my first paranormal and I didn't understand the story. I read it again just recently for a group read. while I enjoyed it, this time, I still felt the descriptions of all architectural took from the story. The ending was not complete and there were loose ends left. The are several subplots that do not hang together.
Melanie is meeting her client at an old Victorian house. There they find a person who has been shot with a nail gun and his hand is gone. The
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love, love, love the setting of San Francisco and the surrounding areas. The location descriptions are right on, and I definitely appreciate the background/historical factoids. We have not been able to live in the City for years, and this brought back all the happy, warm feelings. I loved the MC's occupation, as well as her competence and confidence. The story was engaging with just the right amount of paranormal presence. I already have the second one downloaded.
Dianna (SavingsInSeconds blog)
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
I've been reading a lot of heavy, dark emotion books lately. A cozy mystery with a haunted house seemed like a spirit-lifting treat. I ended up really liking this story! I'm passing my copy over to my sister who loves old houses. She'll enjoy the detailed passages about antique doorknobs and wavy glass. For me, the characters were more interesting -- and there were a lot of them. I frequently wanted to smack Mel for not using her common sense, but overall it was a charming read.
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a very light read and I can recommend this for anyone wanting a quick weekend read.

The main character is a house renovator. She takes on a job in a house that is haunted. She finds out she has a special talent she inherited from her mother. This has a good opportunity for a fun series. I will be reading the next in this series.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it
What a fun start to a new-to-me series! I like Our Heroine very well, indeed. She's smart, sassy, and quirky, so what's not to like? And she's not very happy about her new "gift" of seeing spirits! It's a riot to watch her fumble her way through spirit communication, all the while questioning her own sanity. The mystery portion of the program also kept me engaged, which, after all, is the main reason to read a cozy!
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read for #Book1CoziesClub

I really enjoy the author's Witchcraft series and am not surprised that I also enjoyed this book. The story ties into what I do for a living a bit as well, which made it more interesting to me. Good story line and I didn't feel like it was very heavy on the supernatural element at all in this installment, though I do like that sort of thing personally.

This is also the first time I've listened to one of the author's books on audio and I was pleasantly surprised. I
Alyssa Collins
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Juliet Blackwell's books. I enjoyed this one almost as much as her other series! I am looking forward to picking up the next one to see the characters grow and develop in this series.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A nice cozy mystery. I am going to enjoy this series.
Not a book that could hold my attention: Too many technical building terms and procedures.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Feint of Art (An Art Lover's Mystery, #1)
  • Shooting Gallery (An Art Lover's Mystery, #2)
  • Brush With Death (An Art Lover's Mystery, #3)
  • It Takes a Witch (A Wishcraft Mystery, #1)
  • Arsenic and Old Paint (An Art Lover's Mystery, #4)
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy (A Wishcraft Mystery, #3)
  • Brownies and Broomsticks (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #1)
  • A Witch Before Dying (A Wishcraft Mystery, #2)
  • The Goodbye Witch (A Wishcraft Mystery, #4)
  • Charms and Chocolate Chips (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #3)
  • Ghost of a Potion (A Magic Potion Mystery, #3)
  • A Potion to Die For (A Magic Potion Mystery, #1)
  • One Potion in the Grave (A Magic Potion Mystery, #2)
  • Some Like It Witchy (A Wishcraft Mystery, #5)
  • The Ghoul Next Door (Ghost Hunter Mystery, #8)
  • Gone With the Witch (A Wishcraft Mystery, #6)
  • The Witch and the Dead (A Wishcraft Mystery #7)
  • Book Clubbed (Booktown Mystery, #8)
See similar books…
Juliet Blackwell (aka Julie Goodson-Lawes, aka Hailey Lind) started out life in Palo Alto, California, born of a Texan mother and a Yankee father. The family soon moved to what were, at the time, the sticks of Cupertino, an hour south of San Francisco. Walking to and from kindergarten every day she would indulge in her earliest larcenous activity: stealing walnuts and apricots from surrounding ...more

Other books in the series

Haunted Home Renovation Mystery (8 books)
  • Dead Bolt (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #2)
  • Murder on the House (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #3)
  • Home for the Haunting (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #4)
  • Keeper of the Castle (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #5)
  • Give Up the Ghost (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #6)
  • A Ghostly Light (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #7)
  • The Last Curtain Call (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #8)
“Three smiling men the size of Wisconsin were squeezed into the cab.” 0 likes
More quotes…