Monday, March 16, 2009

No Case Too Cold for This Ghost

Don't haunt the customers...

This was the only rule bookshop owner and widow Penelope Thornton-McClure had given her resident ghost, hard-boiled PI Jack Shepard. But when the hot young author Angel Stark arrives at the store to promote her latest, a true crime novel, Jack can hardly contain himself. After all, this is his specialty!

Angel's book is an unsolved mystery about a debutante found strangled to death. And it's filled with juicy details that point a finger at a number of people in the deb's high society circle. But when the author winds up dead too- in precisely the same way- Pen is fast on the case... which means Jack is too. After all, a ghost detective never rests in peace.

Title: The Ghost and the Dead Deb
Author: Alice Kimberly
Series: Haunted Bookshop, Book 2
Start & Finished: 12/6/08- 12/7/08
Published: 2005
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Pages: 260 (paperback)
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Co-authors Marc Cerasini and Alice Alfonsi of the popular Coffeehouse Mysteries under the name Cleo Coyle teamed up again to start a new series called The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries in 2004. The following year, the married couple published the second book in their new series The Ghost and the Dead Deb.

Even though this series is not as popular as the one written under the name of Cleo Coyle, I have yet to try anything else by these authors. I am impressed that even with two very different "voices" by two authors; it still blends very well. At first, I didn't really like one of the main characters Penelope Thornton-McClure as I found her quite mousy. She has really surprised me by how much she's grown since the first story.

What keeps bringing me back to the series is that I do like all the minor characters and I'm fascinated by Jack and Pen's relationship. What can I say? The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (starring Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney) is one of my favorite movies and the book it was adapted from gave the authors the idea for the series. Well, half of the idea as it just wouldn’t be the same without the Philippe Marlow/ Sam Spade incarnate Jack Shepherd!

Out of every genre I read, I have a favorite sub-genre and mysteries that is the Cozy. Culinary, chick-lit, historical, pets, suspense, contemporary, and especially hobby cozies are all wonderful ways to spend the day and I enjoy cozy mysteries for other reasons besides the mystery value themselves. Nine times out of ten, especially with cozies from Berkley’s Prime Crime line, I end up learning something I didn't know before (or getting a fabulous new recipe). With the bookshop mysteries I get not only "meet" a cool ghost, I also learn a bit of 1940's gumshoe slang. Actually to be honest, I've read a detective novel written in the time period Jack was from so I know that they don't actually lay it on as thick as the author does (which admittedly can be slightly annoying).

Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series:
1. The Ghost and Mrs. McClure (2004)
2. The Ghost and the Dead Deb (2005)
3. The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library (2006)
4. The Ghost and the Femme Fatale (2008)
5. The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion (2009)

Picture Explanations
Yellow Thread:
Murder weapon
Drink Machine: Hugely important clue found under this
Champagne in a Bucket: Jack takes Penelope into his memories again (through her dreams) to discuss a case and they end of drinking together.


  1. Prime Crime! Love that label. I haven't read many mysteries in the last few years. I hit thrillers and never looked back. That said, I'm getting ready to read a couple when the Spring Thing reading event starts. ;)

  2. OOOH! I love the sound of this series! I haven't read it but wish I could. Maybe somebody will do a giveaway of these...wouldn't that be fun? Thanks for the great post and I am about to start a new mystery and hope it is entertaining as these sound. So LOVE YOUR BLOGS, Lady Tink!

  3. I'm sold on this series already. Looks like I should go request the first book from the library :)

  4. I'm definitely interested in checking this series out! It sounds great. I do like cozies, although I tend to prefer hard boiled mysteries more, but that would never keep me from reading a cozy that sounds interesting. Thanks for the great review, Jen.

  5. I love the cover. It certainly has "cosy" written all over it :P I think I want to try this series!

  6. I love cozy mysteries. Have you ever seen The Ghost and Mrs. Muir TV show? It's not as good as the movie, but still fun.

  7. I love this series!! I just read the newest one and can't wait for the next one!

  8. J. Kaye: The name of the publisher is what made me pick up my first one :)

    Bingo: Thanks! This series is one of my favorite cozies. I agree, a giveaway would be awesome! Enjoy your mystery!

    Samantha: I had to ILL the first two from my library but it was worth the hassle!

    Wendy: Oh I bet you would really enjoy these. Can't wait to find out if I'm right!

    Nymeth: The covers are great aren't they? I'm not that crazy about the large print ones though.

    Naida: Thanks.

    Bermudaonion: I've never seen the show but I adore the movie with Rex Harrison.

    D. Shawn: I'm still waiting on the Femme Fatale.

  9. Ooh, another fun one! Do you like the Aunt Dimity mysteries? I haven't read one of those in ages, but I enjoyed the first few that I read.

  10. I just got the first one of this series because you recommended it. Cannot wait to start it.



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