Newly divorced Alison Kerby wants a second chance for herself and her nine-year-old daughter. She's returned to her hometown on the Jersey Shore to transform a Victorian fixer-upper into a charming-and profitable-guest house. One small problem: the house is haunted, and the two ghosts insist Alison must find out who killed them. (from book cover)
In keeping with our recent harvest theme, this cozy mystery is "out-standing in it's field". Ok, I know, bad pun! But, it truly is a step above the average formulaic cozy. The ghosts, in this case, have only been deceased for two years so the murder the heroine is trying to solve is relatively recent - a fun twist on the usual historic angle. Also, these ghosts are a hoot! Still adjusting to their deceased status and the physical restrictions this implies, they sometimes aid in the investigation and sometimes hamper it.
More importantly, to me anyway, Ms. Copperman avoids my pet peeve of many mystery authors (Regular followers of our blog may skip to the next paragraph and avoid a repeat of my ranting.) which is the assumption that the reader is stupid, or at least a bit on the slow side, and can't follow the clues for themselves. I become impatient when the author stops the progress of the story to point out all the clues and theories I may not have been smart enough to recognize on my own, and I tend to skim rather than read. This story kept the action moving forward while still giving me all the necessary clues to solve the case. If I missed one along the way, the ending just came as more of a surprise and allowed me that head slapping moment of "Oh, I should have thought of that."
Besides the ghosts, the supporting cast - mother, daughter, best friend, best friend's husband - are all comical and interesting enough to make me want to come back for the next installment of the Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries. I sure hope Ms. Copperman writes fast.