THE FIRST HAUNTED BOOKSHOP MYSTERY FROM NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR CLEO COYLE—WRITING AS ALICE KIMBERLY
“Part cozy and part hard-boiled detective novel with traces of the supernatural, The Ghost and Mrs. McClure is just a lot of fun.”—The Mystery Reader
Young widow Penelope Thornton-McClure and her old Aunt Sadie are making ends meet by managing a mystery book shop—a quaint Rhode Island landmark rumored to be haunted. Pen may not believe in ghosts, but she does believe in good publicity—like nabbing Timothy Brennan for a book signing. But soon after the bestselling thriller writer reveals a secret about the store’s link to a 1940s murder, he keels over dead—and right in the middle of the store’s new Community Events space.
Who gives Mrs. McClure the first clue that it was murder? The bookstore’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 oddly likable fedora-wearing specter the only hope Pen has to solve the crime? You can bet your everlasting life on it...
Good characters. Great story. Look forward to solving Jack’s murder
Earns 5+/5 Ghostly Shadows...Totally Entertaining!
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure! Alice Kimberley/Cleo Coyle introduced a delightfully entertaining premise for their Haunted Bookshop Mystery series with a “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” dynamic. A hard-boiled 1940s private detective, Jack Shepherd, is murdered, yet presumed missing. Then decades later he ghosts a widowed mother of one who owns a bookshop and finds herself ensnared in a murder investigation. Mrs. Penelope Thornton McClure, “Pen” to some, had been involved in big city publishing, but now, she’s returned home to Quindecot, Rhode Island, struggling to distance herself from her former in-laws who entertain her complicity in their son’s suicide, and along with her Aunt Sadie, trying to infuse some excitement into the family bookstore, Buy the Book, to support her and her young son. Unfortunately, the premier event kicking off the book tour of popular crime fiction author Timothy Brennan ends tragically with his choking and collapsing...dead! He had just announced he was exploring the final case of his friend Jack Shepherd who had been missing these past fifty years. His last breath...“Jack, Jack Shepherd. It can’t be. You’re dead!” Penelope didn’t believe in spirits, until a voice, a voice only she can hear, interrupts her thoughts. It’s Jack Shepherd. Jack’s ghost is stuck in the bookshop, the last place he visited before his death, and has a fascinating connection to the dead author, who has used Jack and his cases, without permission, of course, as inspiration for his popular books. This non-corporeal partnership provides Penelope a unique insight into the past and the present, and a unique mentorship about private detecting, but will any of it be useful to find a killer or two?
I was first a fan of Cleo Coyle because of the Coffeehouse Mystery series, and this Haunted Bookshop Mystery, penned under another pseudonym, is just as entertaining, engaging, and clever! This book one’s story is brilliant: the double mystery, the unique complications, personal drama with the in-laws, challenges raising a young boy fascinated by the crime and detective genre, and a more than satisfying “Oh, wow!” ending. The writing team has a descriptive style with a few twist to keep me engaged, and captures well the personality of a 1940s PI and all the era’s slang and cultural views. Penelope is an admirable character, with whom many will identify; she is intelligent, but often errs on the side of caution as she tries to avoid conflict and confrontation. Aunt Sadie is a hoot, and although I usually balk at kids, little Spencer is a delightful inclusion. I enjoyed the dynamic between Penelope and Jack from comforting to annoying, from supportive to thoughts of regret, and in many ways each act as mentor to the other.
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure
Super fun! Pen and Jack provide a very rich and entertaining break from my everyday world.