by Sandra Murphy
This week we have a review of Ghostal Living by Kathleen Bridge, along with an interesting interview with Kathleen. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Ghostal Living We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Ghostal Living: Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery by Kathleen Bridge
Review by Sandra Murphy
Meg Barrett has been hired by an upscale B&B to make each room unique with a theme of great writers. While her own cottage is being renovated, she’s staying in the Emily Dickinson room. She had been on her kind-of-boyfriend Cole’s yacht, but with a hurricane predicted, the marina has been evacuated. The B&B is owned by Franklin Hollingsworth, a true bibliophile. His wife, Violet, a sculptor, says she can’t begin to compete with a first edition book.
Franklin’s latest acquisition is an unpublished F. Scott Fitzgerald titled The Heiress and the Light. The light refers to the lighthouse on Montauk. Franklin paid five million dollars for the manuscript. Before the B&B opens to the public, he invites several guests—Alan, a writer, Randall, the book authenticator, and Jordan and her husband Hal, who will publish the book. Also on hand are Renna, Franklin’s niece who would rather live with him than her father, and Oliver, who has Hollingsworth Castle next door. It is too tacky for words. Ken and Kortney are the staff—Ken acting as groundskeeper, Kortney as beekeeper and bottler of their own honey.
When the hurricane is over, no one can find Randall. The next day his body is discovered at the base of Widow’s Point. In whaling ship times, the home was owned by Captain Isaiah and his wife Sarah. On hearing of the sinking of his ship, Sarah miscarried and then jumped to her death from the Point. People still claim to see her ghost walking the Point, waiting for the ship’s return. Meg discovers there are also missing books. Books of the period were placed in each room, under lock and key. Still there are empty spaces.
The first Sag Harbor Antiquarian Book and Ephemera Fair is held, and Franklin will read from the Fitzgerald manuscript. It’s been locked in the vault and is escorted to the site under armed guard. Franklin nearly has a stroke when he discovers everything past page two is a copy, not the original. The number of people with access is very few and even Meg comes under suspicion for the theft of the books and manuscript. With the help of her cat Jo (well, Jo sleeps a lot, but she’s moral support) and her friend Elle, Meg is able to figure out just what happened.
This is the third book in the very enjoyable Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery series. Meg faces many changes and difficulties in her personal life and weathers them all. Meg is deaf which allows her to lip read when necessary, not often seen in cozy mysteries. At the back of the book are tips from Meg and Elle about displaying vintage finds.
Interview with Kathleen Bridge:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
Kathleen: I’ve been writing for twenty years.
KRL: When did your first novel come out? What was it called? Can you tell us a little about it?
Kathleen: My first novel came out in 2015. It’s called Better Homes and Corpses, and is the first book in my Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery series. The story takes place in ritzy East Hampton where my protagonist, antiques picker and interior designer Meg Barrett, walks into the Seacliff estate to find a potential wealthy client bludgeoned to death.
KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense? If not what else have you written?
Kathleen: I have also co-authored an antiques reference guide with my mother, Paper Lithographed Toys, Books, and Games 1880-1910.
KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series? Please tell us a little about the setting and main character for your most recent book.
Kathleen: My latest book, Ghostal Living, takes place in the Hamptons, in the historic whaling town of Sag Harbor. My main character, Meg Barrett, is hired to decorate the American author-inspired rooms at the Bibliophile Bed & Breakfast. I chose Sag Harbor because of its rich literary history, and I love researching the towns in the Hamptons because of their early American roots.
KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Kathleen: I write to entertain, but I have given my lead character, who is thirty-three, a hearing loss. Meg wears hearing aids and is able to read lips, which is an asset to an amateur sleuth. I hopefully inspire my readers to look at people with disabilities as a plus instead of a minus.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?
Kathleen: I am a morning writer. After a cup of coffee and a twenty-minute walk with my dog Lucy, I write for at least two hours every morning. Then I review what I’ve written in the late afternoon, if possible.
KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?
Kathleen: I don’t outline but I do tape together computer paper (landscape direction) and make a timeline in pencil by chapter. I know the ending and whodunit, but I like to let inspiration guide me from point to point.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Kathleen: Yes, but I am happy to say, if I hadn’t gotten rejections and feedback from the agents that I submitted to, then I probably wouldn’t be the writer I am today. You learn a lot in those rejection letters. As a side note, the sign of a good agent is someone who takes the time to tell you the positive points of your writing, along with the negative.
KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?
Kathleen: Yes! I lived in Roslyn, Long Island but my series takes place in the Hamptons, ninety miles due east. I was in Montauk, when my agent called me to tell me three publishers wanted to publish my series. It couldn’t have been more perfect!
KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?
Kathleen: My first book signing was at my local library, where I taught creative writing workshops and where I used to go to listen to bestselling authors lecture. It was a wonderful feeling to have it there.
KRL: Future writing goals?
Kathleen: I am writing a new series – A By the Sea Mystery – that takes place on a barrier island and I am also writing a young adult novel.
KRL: Writing heroes?
Kathleen: Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney, Mary Stewart, Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, Harper Lee, and Louise Penny
KRL: What kind of research do you do?
Kathleen: I love research, and because I set my novels in real locations, I love to visit historical societies, the chamber of commerce, museums, search used book stores for volumes on local history, and of course I use the internet. In Ghostal Living, I did a lot of research on the American authors I used in my story.
KRL: What do you read?
Kathleen: Cozy mysteries, mysteries and thrillers, and mainstream literary novels.
KRL: Favorite TV or movies?
Kathleen: I’m a PBS addict and I love the Hallmark Movies and Mystery Channel, Turner Classic Movie channel, and Acorn TV. I love all genres of movies.
KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
Kathleen: Never get discouraged, just keep writing and rewriting.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Kathleen: I just want to thank Kings River Life for the amazing job they do for the literary community on getting the word out about mine and fellow authors’ books.
KRL: Awe thanks so much for the kind words! What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Kathleen: I used to be a better dress buyer for Lord & Taylor, and I was an extra in the TV show Royal Pains. I got to wear a fabulous dress and a huge decorated hat, while holding a glass of champagne.
KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?
To enter to win a copy of Ghostal Living, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “ghostal,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 27, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.