JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)'s Reviews > The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle
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it was amazing
bookshelves: cozy, mysteries

Penelope Thornton-McClure is a widow with a young son who moved to Rhode Island after her husband's death. After renovating the bookstore that she now co-owns with her aunt Sadie, she discovered that she can communicate with the spirit of a dead private detective, Jack Shepard, who was murdered on the premises back in 1947. She's become used to having him around, which is a good thing since it's apparent there's no lack of crime in small-town Quindacott, and he guides her as she conducts her own investigation along the way.

This time a distinguished older woman has entered her shop for a copy of the newest bestseller, Shades of Leather. But seeing the book has upset her as she exclaims that the young woman on the cover is herself. She runs out of the store, unpaid book in hand, and Penelope is so disturbed by her reaction that she vows to track her down (and, as Jack quite often points out, get the money for the book).

Seeing that the woman left her gloves behind gives her a reason to do so, and as she discovers the information she needs, she goes to the woman's residence - a run-down sort of older Victorian home - and she enters but only finds a parrot. Exploring further she notes that the woman has a wonderful collection of first editions, and exploring further still, she discovers the woman's dead body below a balcony, apparently from a fall.

But Penelope becomes suspicious, sure that any woman who left a dinner still cooking in a crockpot and no suicide note is a victim of foul play. While the police think differently, Jack's on her side as she begins her own probe into the death. She asks the help of her friend Seymour Tarnish, a local postman who has also agreed to temporarily take the bird; and what he discovers after reading the book makes him realize that another friend - J. Parker Brainert, a local college professor - is involved more than he's admitting. But when she finds that Professor Brainert might also be in danger Penelope (and Jack) step up their investigation to get a killer to confess before he or she can kill again...

It's been a few years since the last book in this series was published, and I, for one, am glad to see the resurrection has finally come about. The author has indeed given us a delightful book with Pen and Jack, and it is all that I've hoped for.

The mystery is written extremely well, and the characters are like old friends returned to us after a long absence. I find Seymour rather endearing this time, even in his penchant for kitsch. He's a staunch friend and intelligent enough to figure things out on his own.

This time out we also have a friend of Spencer's, Amy Ridgeway, a precocious twelve-year-old who manages to temporarily join the household and also endear herself to the family with a clear aptitude for learning about the bookstore and how it's managed. I can see her returning to future novels. There's also a bit of humor about something Jack's discovered that's a favorite of Spencer's and brings a bit of lightness to the story.

I also love the dream sequences between Pen and Jack where she's transported to his time, in the guise of helping her solve the murder of her own. It says a lot about the writing that it seems perfectly natural for Pen to transport between eras seamlessly and become a part of Jack's world as much as he has (or can, insofar as a ghost is able) become a part of hers.

The tale is woven tightly and there are plenty of twists and turns, with a lot of red herrings thrown in. While there are misconceptions throughout, this seems necessary for the story to succeed and only adds to the pleasure in reading. When the ending comes and the killer is revealed, everything falls into place nicely as it should giving us a final sense of satisfaction. It says a lot when you close a book and there is a smile on your face, as this one brought to me. Once again, I am glad to see this series brought to life and hope that it's a good, long one. Highly recommended.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 14, 2018 – Shelved
August 14, 2018 – Shelved as: cozy
August 14, 2018 – Shelved as: mysteries

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