Review: The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion by Alice Kimberly

Ghost and the Haunted Mansion, theThe Ghost and the Haunted Mansion
Alice Kimberly
Berkley, 304 pages
Get it from >>

I don’t know what the prices of homes for sale in Alice Kimberly’s fictional Quindicott, RI are like, but considering the number of murders in that town, I bet they’re falling. The most recent death occurs in the most recent – to date – novel in the Haunted Bookshop series, and involves an old woman who lives as a recluse being literally scared to death. Local mailmain Seymour Tarnish inherits the woman’s mansion – in the toniest part of town, of course – and that’s when the real hijinks begin.

Pen and her ghostly partner, private investigator Jack Shepard are back on the case of course, though their relationship is a bit cooler than it was in the previous novel. Maybe the author figured out she’d painted herself into a corner with these two, or maybe she merely wanted to focus on plot, but I like them better as a mismatched pair who fight crime, than lovers separated by death…mostly. Of course, some of that coolness may be due to the fact that one of the other characters can SEE and HEAR Jack.

Speaking of Jack, can you believe it’s taken me this long to figure out he’s got the same name as the ersatz leader of the LOSTaways? I wonder if that’s intentional, or mere coincidence – of course there is a spelling difference.

In any case, this was, as always, an enjoyable, entertaining read, if not exactly great literature.

My only complaint? There’s no more of this series…yet.

Mini-Review: The Ghost and the Dead Deb

Ghost and Dead Deb
The Ghost and the Dead Deb
by Alice Kimberly
Berkley, 272 Pages
Get it from Amazon >>

Reading about dead debutante’s is not exactly the way to lose weight fast. I mean, skinny rich girls, even when they’re corpses, are hardly good role models. Fortunately, I don’t read Alice Kimberly’s haunted bookshop novels for fitness inspiration, but to be entertained, and this book succeeded wildly in its humble mission.

In this, the third outing for Penelope McClure and the ghost of Jack Shepherd, we have drug abuse, fickle lovers, fashionistas, and, of course, a mystery of how one pretty rich girl became the latest in a pair of connected murders.

As always, while the mystery is enjoyable, the developing Jack/Pen relationship is why I read, and in this installment the friendship between ghost and bookseller continues to deepen.

Am I the only person wishing a haunted bookshop was in my neighborhood?

Review: The Ghost and the Dead Deb by Alice Kimberly

The Ghost and the Dead Deb
The Ghost and the Dead Deb
Author: Alice Kimberly
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Berkley (September 6, 2005)
Language: English

Penelope “Pen” McClure, co-owner of the fictional “Buy the Book” in Quindicott, RI, should really consider investing in some sort of business insurance, because in this second installment of the Haunted Bookshop series, another visiting author is murdered.

Alice Kimberly once again weaves a charming romance/mystery pairing Pen with Jack Shepherd, the ghost of a noir private investigator, who himself was gunned down in the store decades before. In this book, we learn a bit more about Pen, and, in the related case from Jack’s memory, we also learn a bit more about Jack.

Young deb-turned-author Angel Stark could easily be ripped by any number of today’s tabloids, but the recurring characters are also as vivid as they were in the first novel – especially the group of business owners affectionately referred to as the Quibblers (which name, I confess, reminds me of another fictional mystery series, Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who…).

What really makes this book sing, however, is the developing relationship between Pen and Jack – they’re clearly friends now – which is heightened when Pen finds a way to take Jack with her (so to speak) when she leaves the store.

Goes well with hot tea and a warm quilt.

Review: The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure
by Alice Kimberly
Get it from Amazon >>

The Ghost and Mrs. McClureThe Ghost at Mrs. Muir and part homage to noir crime fiction, this book is a light mystery – nothing is terribly unpredictable, but the relationship between Jack and Pen makes it an interesting read, and keeps you coming back for more. Some of the best humor of the book comes from Jack’s reactions to modern technology – chat rooms on the internet are as cool to him as websites touting low cost health insurance would be to those looking for new policies.

I suspect future novels will see the Pen/Jack relationship deepening – as far as it’s possible when one half of the relationship is incorporeal, but that the basic premise will be maintained: He’s the ghost of a hard-boiled detective, she’s a widowed bookseller. Together, they fight crime.