Tag Archives: Haunted Bookshop Mystery

Alice Kimberly’s The Ghost and The Dead Man’s Library

Like most of my books, I purchased and downloaded this book to my Sony eReader. The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library is Book 3 in the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series by Alice Kimberly.

Book Description: Jack Shepard didn’t have much use for books when he was alive. Now that he’s dead, he has even less interest in the crate of dusty old tomes that arrive at the bookshop he’s been haunting. Penelope, on the other hand, is thrilled with the delivery. The rare old Poe library was willed to her shop by an elderly admirer of her aunt Sadie’s. The dead man’s library is so valuable that Pen is inundated with astronomical offers for every volume in the set. Everything appears rosy, until Pen begins to sell the books, one by one…and one by one each buyer dies. The police don’t believe Pen’s theory—that these deaths are linked to the rare book purchases. In fact, the police don’t believe these deaths are murders at all. Pen, of course, knows differently, which means it’s time to persuade her hard-boiled haunter to stop resting in peace, start cracking some clues, and make sure this twisted Poe freak kills…nevermore.

(An excerpt is also available on the author’s website)

I have been reading this series for the cozy mystery challenge. This particular installment was very interesting since I am a Poe fan. For one who has read Poe’s works, this book provided many references and illusions that caught my attention and my interest.

In a very Davinci Code-ish way, this series grabs the reader and pulls her along as we try to determine if the Poe code is real and what we will find. All of this, is of course, while solving a series of murders and trying to get Penelope off the hook for Grand Theft Larceny. It was a quick enjoyable read. And, I really liked the conversations Penelope and Jack had about their different uses of language and slang (something that was lacking in the first book and worried me a bit). This book proves the author has meshed those eras and their languages well.

Having said that, as a mom, I wished an incident with Penelope’s child had not been glossed over so much. In addition, at this point, I would like to see Penelope develop a love interest of some kind (other than Jack).  Also, Pen doesn’t seem to be as worried about being arrested as I would think someone would be. She never consults a lawyer and there is no mention really of the charges being dropped other than we know the police know she didn’t do it.

So, with those minor caveats, it was good. I will definitely read the next one. Happy Reading to you!


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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Cozy Mystery Challenge 2010, Reading for Fun

The Ghost and the Dead Deb by Alice Kimberly

The Ghost and the Dead Deb is the second in the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series by Alice Kimberly. I read this book last week for the Cozy Mystery Challenge.

The author’s website has the following information about this book. Description: Don’t haunt the customers! This was the only rule bookshop owner had given her resident ghost, hard-boiled private eye Jack Shepard. But when the hot young author Angel Stark arrives at the store to promote her latest—a book of true crime—Jack can hardly contain himself. After all, crime is his specialty. Angel’s books 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.

 Excerpt: “In my day, dames with money from well-heeled families hired me to help them duck scandal on the QT. The last thing they’d ever do was write a book about it and tart it up in front of a ham-handed audience for applause.”  The booming, masculine voice in my head was either the ghost of PI Jack Shepard or a delusion of my half-demented mind. Which was true? Take your pick. “It’s a different world than the ’40’s, Jack,” I silently replied. “I liked my world better,” Jack said. “The uptown crowd kept their trashy messes in the back alley, not on their bookshelf.”

 The Cozy Library site says that Alice Kimberly / Cleo Coyle is really wife and husband team Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini. The site continues, “Together and separately they’ve authored a number of bestselling books. As Alice Kimberly they co-author The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, including The Ghost and Mrs. McClure, The Ghost and the Dead Deb, and The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library, with more titles under way. As Cleo Coyle they co-author The Coffeehouse Mysteries, including On What Grounds, Through the Grinder, Latte Trouble, and Murder Most Frothy, with more books in the works.” I haven’t read the Coffee House Mysteries, but since I am liking this series, I will probably add it to my list.

This particular book was fun to read. It was upbeat and fast. And, I didn’t figure out whodunit too early! I like that the main character continues to question her sanity for hearing Jack’s voice and that she doesn’t make it commonplace to hear ghosts (like in Ghost Whisperer). In this book, Pen also finds that Jack’s spirit is attached to a nickel and that if she takes that nickel with her, he can travel too. I hope the author(s) develop that line a bit more (like how did it happen, etc.). I did find it a bit disconcerting that Jack keeps flirting with Pen, and their / her erotic dream of intimacy with him was a little over the top. But, the book was enjoyable, and I also learned a new word that I cannot wait to use in conversation: debutramp. What a great descriptor! (Yeah, Yeah, I know what that says about me that I like this word.)

Happy Reading this week!

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The Ghost & Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly

The Ghost & Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly is the first in the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series.  I began this series as part of the Cozy Mystery Challenge sponsored by Kris Meyer at her Not Enough Books blog. I bought and downloaded the book from the Sony eReader Bookstore.

The product description reads: Penelope Thornton-McClure manages a Rhode Island bookshop rumored to be haunted. When a bestselling author drops dead signing books, the first clue of foul play comes from the store’s full-time ghost-a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago.

Is he a figment of Pen’s overactive imagination? Or is the likable, fedora-wearing specter the only hope Pen has to solve the crime?

At first, I was a bit leery of this book because it begins with a prologue filled with 1940-noir PI language, such as “Maybe he was hard, thought Jack. But baby, this was one hick town. No painted dolls or groghounds here. No nickel rats, cheap grifters, or diamond-dripping dames looking to have their husbands set up. Just clean air, families with kids, potluck socials, and farm-fresh moo juice.” I wasn’t sure I could stand reading that throughout the book. As poetic as it looks here, it takes more time to read than I was willing to put into a cozy mystery. However, the first chapter jumped to present day and more contemporary language. And while there was an occasional return to this type of speaking, it was confined to one character, and the protagonist even found his language a bit startling. Luckily, it didn’t stop me from trying the rest of the book, because I ended up really liking it.

This is the first story with Penelope Thornton-McClure who has decided to move to Quindicott, Rhode Island and buy  a share of her Aunt Sadie’s failing bookstore after her husband’s recent suicide. She sinks every penny she has into the bookstore in hopes of establishing a new life for herself and her son Spencer.

After expanding and remodeling and renaming the story, Pen sets up an author appearance and signing with best-selling Timothy Brennan, writer of the Detective Jack Shield series. Unfortunately, Brennan dies during the appearance at Buy the Book. Instead of killing the bookstore, the death puts the store on the map as they sell out of all of their Brennan books as fast as they arrive (with some of them being resold for up to $300 per book on eBay).

While Pen is trying to cope with the craziness of the business and her interfering in-laws, she begins to hear voices, well one voice really–that of the real life PI Jack Shepherd who was apparently also murdered at the bookstore, albeit 50 years ago.

This book revolves around Penelope coming to terms with a ghost in her bookstore (and in her head since she is apparently the only one who can hear him) and working with that ghost to solve the murder of Timothy Brennan. 

This cozy mystery is quick-paced and entertaining. I am looking forward to the next in the series.

Happy Reading!


Filed under Cozy Mystery, Cozy Mystery Challenge 2010, Reading for Fun