Paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski has the perfect exhibit for the harvest festival—a haunted grape press. But when she's accused of stealing the press, and her accuser is murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie. Knowing the perils of amateur sleuthing as she does, Maddie is reluctant to get involved...until her mother insists she investigate.
Does her mom have a secret agenda? Or is she somehow connected to the murder? Facing down danger and her own overactive imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.
"In Weiss's engaging sequel...Well-drawn characters and tantalizing wine talk help balance the quirky aspects of this paranormal mystery."—Publishers Weekly
In Weiss s engaging sequel to 2016 s A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, Maddie Kosloski, who runs a struggling paranormal museum in her tiny hometown of San Benedetto in California wine country, is convinced that her newly acquired haunted grape press is a perfect draw for the big harvest festival. When the press s previous owner, Romeo Paganini, accuses Maddie of stealing it, the police seize it as evidence and Maddie ends up with no entry to the festival. Maddie s subsequent discovery of her accuser dead in a barrel of grapes leaves her a prime suspect. Another murder raises the stakes. San Benedetto residents start taking bets on if and when Maddie will solve the crimes after she turns amateur sleuth in her own defense, to the ire of local detective Laurel Hammer, her nemesis. Well-drawn characters and tantalizing wine talk help balance the quirky aspects of this paranormal mystery.
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Second book in series!
Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss is the second book A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery series. Maddie Kosloski owns the Paranormal Museum in San Benedetto, California. Maddie is getting ready to leave for the Harvest Fair, but Detective Laurel Hammer has delayed her. Detective Hammer is accusing Maddie of dealing in stolen property. Romeo Paganini is claiming the grape press that Maddie purchased from Herb Linden was stolen. Maddie has a copy of the signed receipt from Romeo’s wife, Jocelyn. It is only thanks to Frances Kosloski’s, Maddie’s mother, smooth talking, that they finally get to leave for the fair (I am sure that we will be seeing the good detective again soon). Maddie, with help from her mother, finishes setting up her table, and then they go to check the big vat for the wine stomping event. It is the biggest fundraiser for the Ladies Aid Society. They arrive to find the truck still in place, and the grapes were just dumped in the vat (they need to be spread out). Frances asks Maddie to jump in and spread out the grapes (and she does with her white tennis shoes still on). As Maddie uses the rake to spread out the grapes, she notices an arm sticking out. Upon closer inspection, she finds the body of Romeo Paganini. Detective Hammer immediately suspects Maddie of committing the crime. Frances wants Maddie to get involved in the investigation which shocks Maddie (especially after the last time). Maddie is not sure she wishes to be involved, but, after two close brushes with death, she has no choice. Maddie must work in her investigation in between working at the museum, setting up a haunted room for the Ladies Aid Haunted House event, and discovering the history behind the grape press. Maddie’s thoughts, however, are a little scattered. Her boyfriend, Mason Hjelm, is acting distant and unavailable. But when a second person is murdered, Maddie will need to focus on the task at hand.
Pressed to Death is easy to read and it does have a decent tempo (I was tired of using the word pace). I had trouble getting into the book in the beginning. Things do pick up in the second part of the story. I found the paranormal element to be nonexistent which was unfortunate (it is only hinted at subtlety). The addition of a mystic element would have greatly enhanced the story. I am giving Pressed to Death 3 out of 5 stars (it is okay). I thought the romance element to be overpowering and unappealing. There is quite a bit of activity going on in the story. I personally felt that there are too many elements. I am curious why authors feel the need to jam a book full of activity (it is happening in more and more cozy mysteries). The author made Detective Hammer out to be a nasty, vengeful harpy who is bent on destroying Maddie. It might have to do something with Maddie setting the good detective’s hair on fire (going from long hair to a pixie cut) in book one. The detective seizes so called “evidence” from Maddie without a warrant (very unrealistic). The cops also seem to be spinning their wheels regarding the case while Maddie put together the clues and solves it. The main mystery is uncomplicated and the culprit easily identified (I believe even a novice mystery reader will be able pinpoint the killer). The past mystery relating to the grape press was interesting, but there was little investigation into it. While I have not had the pleasure of reading The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, I understood what was going on in Pressed to Death. The author provided the necessary information on the town and main characters as well as what occurred in the first book in the series. I had been looking forward to reading this particular book, and I ended up being letdown.