Stevie Carroll's Reviews > The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street

The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street by Karen   White
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Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

In an effort to read more holiday fiction this year, I got hold of a review copy of this book based on having read a stand-alone novel by the author before, and without realising that this one was part of an ongoing series. Going more on the title than anything more than a quick skim of the blurb, I was also expecting friendly ghosts pointing the way to Christmas Cheer and helping our protagonists solve suitably cosy mysteries. That wasn’t quite what I got.

Melanie works in real estate in Charleston (incidentally a place of which I hold very fond memories), while her husband Jack is an author who has been experiencing difficulties with both his writing and his publisher since a previous book concept was stolen by his arch-rival – Melanie’s ex, now married to her cousin – and turned into a best seller, on which a film is about to be based. Melanie, meanwhile, is very aware of the unquiet dead – not many of them both friendly and helpful – who surround her, her family, and her friends in their various historic homes.

Melanie and Jack’s home, or at least its garden, is currently the site of an archaeological dig, which has disturbed several ghosts with ties to the property and to previous mysteries that Melanie has played a part in solving. Melanie is putting off dealing with this current batch of ghosts due to the pressures of work, her young twins, and the upcoming Christmas fundraising events in which she and her house are expected to play a major role. The dead, however, are not planning on staying quiet.

Melanie reluctantly begins investigating and learns that her ex is plotting new machinations against Jack and his career, as well as disrupting her life by strong-arming Melanie into allowing the film crew for the adaptation of his book full access to her house, where the book is set. As it becomes clear that the mystery surrounding the newly active ghosts may involve hidden treasure from the time of the American Revolution, Melanie and her ex become involved in a race to solve the puzzle and each claim the treasure for themselves.

This was a very twisty book, and while I liked the puzzles and their historical background, I really couldn’t warm to any of the characters. Melanie and Jack are supposedly facing financial ruin, but can still afford to pay a housekeeper, a nanny, a handyman, and various other household helpers. I can only imagine that their idea of hardship is to do their own cooking, washing up and DIY. I don’t mind reading about the better-off tiers of society usually, but I like to see some acknowledgement from the author that the staff have lives and worries of their own too. I was also disappointed by the number of loose ends left at the close of the book, mostly relating to subplots that had dragged on throughout the book (and possibly for several books before) and to which we had been given an implied promise of resolution very shortly. I’m not really encouraged to read any more of this series.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 19, 2019 – Shelved
October 19, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed-elsewhere
October 19, 2019 – Finished Reading

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