by Sandra Murphy
& Allison Brook
This week we have a review of the latest Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook aka Marilyn Levinson-what is better for going into Halloween month than something haunted! We also have a special guest post by Allison about why there are ghosts in her books. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and links to purchase it.
Checked Out for Murder: The Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook
Review by Sandra Murphy
Daphne Marriott drops by and introduces herself to Carrie Singleton, library events planner. As a psychic, she’s setting up a business to give readings and wants to do a library presentation to introduce herself to the townspeople. Evelyn, the library ghost, remembers Daphne, whose father was murdered many years ago. Daphne fingered her brother for the crime. Still, the event goes smoothly except for one glitch when Daphne recognizes someone in the audience.
Carrie has a lot on her mind. Her mom, who now calls herself Brianna, and current husband are in town. Tom, an actor, has landed a substantial role in a movie being made right there in Clover Ridge. Brianna, an overbearing woman most of the time, is thrilled to be on set to watch filming every day. There’s a party on the commons so residents can meet the crew and actors.
Brianna’s happy until Ilana, the female counterpart to Tom’s role, blatantly flirts with Tom. The worst part is, Tom has a past with Ilana, and he’s falling for her again. It seems they were engaged, but Ilana called it off in order to pursue her career. Maybe Tom wasn’t as over her as anyone thought. Does Ilana want him back or just seeing if she can get him?
Meanwhile, Carrie’s significant other, Dylan, is out of town on business, just when she could use help refereeing her mom and Tom. Daphne had predicted the movie set would have problems. Is this what she meant?
Apparently there was more to worry about than flirting. Daphne is found dead, murdered. When another body is found, a missing person is located, a secret revealed, Carrie’s almost dizzy trying to keep up. Add in that Brianna has had enough of the flirting and invited herself to stay with Carrie. Poor Dylan, he no more than returns home than Tom asks if he can stay with Dylan. Smokie Joe, Carrie’s cat, is the only sane one left!
This is the fourth book in the series, all reviewed here. Carrie has changed a lot since she first arrived in town. She’s got a dream job, a dreamy boyfriend, and Smokie Joe who commutes with her to the library every day to work as the Head Library Cat. The special events allow for a revolving cast of additional characters while leaving the setting intact. This is a series I always look forward to reading.
Brook, also known as Marilyn Levinson, writes the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series (2, reviewed here), Twin Lakes mysteries (2, reviewed here), seven novels, and three novellas.
Why Ghosts Often Appear in My Novels
by Allison Brook aka Marilyn Levinson
Though I’ve never met a ghost, I’ve read enough about ghost sightings and hauntings to believe they exist. Experts in the field say some spirits remain earthbound because they’ve experienced a brutal or sudden death and don’t realize they’re dead. Others remain here because they have unfinished business or issues they need to resolve before passing on. Ghosts, whether you believe in them or not, have a permanent place in our literary lore. Readers find their manifestations unnerving, thrilling, and intriguing. George and Marion Kerby in Topper and the sea captain in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir are three of my favorite literary spirits.
Ghosts appear in my Haunted Library mystery series, my mystery Giving Up the Ghost and in my juvenile novel Getting Back to Normal. They are fully-developed characters who have remained on the Earthly plane to be of assistance or to settle accounts. In Death Overdue, the first book in my Haunted Library series, Evelyn Havers is the sixty-something ghost that haunts the Clover Ridge Library, where she worked as an aide for many years. While invisible, she urges my sleuth Carrie Singleton not to turn down the position of Head of Programs and Events she is being offered. Carrie takes Evelyn’s advice and soon discovers she has made the right decision. When her first program presenter dies before her eyes and those of a roomful of library patrons, Carrie goes on to investigate his murder and that of the cold case he claimed to have solved. Evelyn helps Carrie in her investigation, but also holds back information for personal reasons. It isn’t until Buried in the Stacks, the third book in the series, that Carrie discovers Evelyn’s death was no accident.
Cameron Leeds, the ghost in Giving Up the Ghost, is a charismatic scoundrel. In life he was a good-looking man with a generous heart, except when he was wheeling and dealing often at his friends’ expense; a Romeo who flirted with every woman that crossed his path. Though his best friend, the town’s police chief, has declared his death an accident, Cam knows he was murdered. Trouble is, he doesn’t know who did it, and he can’t move on until he does. When Gabbie Meyerson rents his family’s cottage—the only place where he can manifest—Cam nags and cajoles until she agrees to investigate. Gabbie starts asking questions, and to her dismay, discovers that several of Cam’s so-called friends and neighbors are glad he’s dead and possible suspects.
Twelve-year-old Vannie Taylor, the protagonist in Getting Back to Normal, has just lost her mother and her father is a basket case without her. Vannie meets Archie the ghost, hours after her father has moved her and her brother to live in a dingy cottage on the estate where he manages events. Archie appears to be carefree and funny. Dressed in a tuxedo, he performs cartwheels and handstands. He has overheard Vannie wondering aloud what to give her brother for dinner, and provides her with a simple recipe. He even tells her she can find the necessary ingredients in the mansion’s kitchen.
But Archie is far from carefree, as Vannie and her best friend discover when they research his life. He was twenty-five when he died chasing the thief who stole his wife’s necklace. Archie tells Vannie that before he can go to his rest, he must atone for having left his wife and their one-year-old son. She is astonished to learn that Mayda, her parents’ close friend and the last of the family that once owned the estate, is Archie’s granddaughter. Archie implores Vannie to encourage the budding relationship between her father and Mayda—the one thing Vannie doesn’t want to happen. But it may be the only way her life can get back to normal.
Ghosts, real or imagined, always add a dimension to a novel.
To enter to win a copy of Checked Out For Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “checked,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 3, 2020. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.
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