by Cynthia Chow
& Carol J. Perry
This week we have a review of Be My Ghost: A Haunted Haven Mystery By Carol J. Perry, along with a fun Halloween guest post by Carol! Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to order it from Amazon.
Be My Ghost: A Haunted Haven Mystery by Carol J. Perry
Review by Cynthia Chow
When Barlett’s of Boston department store shuttered its doors after eighty-five years, their thirty-something Independent Retailers Ready-to-Wear Buyer of the Year Maureen Doherty knows that even a generous severance pay won’t help her for long with an apartment lease. So it’s an unexpected but very fortuitous time for her to receive a letter from the Estate Attorney of one Penelope Josephine Gray, stating that Maureen has been named as the sole heir of the Haven House Inn. With nothing to lose, Maureen packs up and heads to Florida to evaluate her inheritance and what this could mean for her future. It’s that uncertainty that has Maureen drawn to a rest stop fortune-telling machine, where the motorized Zoltar presciently shoots out a long prediction that begins, “With a message from the dead On a journey you’ve been led.” Unable to deny its relevance, Maureen and her affectionate failed guide dog golden retriever Finn continue their journey to the unique historical inn.
Once at the Inn, Maureen finds an abrasive restaurant manager and a historical building that seems to cater to the ghost-hunting crowd. While Maureen doesn’t believe in ghosts, she does believe in dead bodies, which is what the famous TV ghost hunter Conrad Wilson now happens to be as he sits on her porch. Almost as alarming as the police investigation now ensuing on her new property is the presence of an undeniably real ghost in Maureen’s room, the formerly-living B-movie actress Lorna Dubois. Preferring to remain in her youthful version that resembles Jean Harlow, Lorna dons versions of Maureen’s much more updated fashion and rather pleasantly updates her on the Inn guests. Uber-planner Maureen has her hands full coming up with budgets and marketing plans that will pull Haven House Inn out of debt and profitable, and she has to decide whether or not to promote it as a ghost-friendly attraction. Resident cats Bogie and Bacall, a handsome bartender, and long-term chatty guests make for lively companions as Maureen follows the mystery of the late ghost expert while serving up profitable tasty Inn menus.
This first in the series by the author of the Witch City Mystery series introduces fantastic characters with so much potential for growth. While it shouldn’t be surprising that the ghosts here are presented in such unique and engaging manners, the Haven Inn living guests are just as complex and compelling. Maureen is funny and very intelligent, and she makes excellent use of her fashion retail skills to help her market and promote the Inn. Her relationship with Lorna develops into a friendship quickly, despite their (real) thirty-year age difference and differing living states.
The daily tasks of running an Inn and Maureen’s creative ideas for meals are just as interesting and fun as her investigation into the death, which she has to admit has helped further put the Haven House Inn on the tourist destination map. While a possible culprit may seem identifiable early on, the motives and methods prove to be more than surprising. This is a wonderful start to a new series by an author with a talent for paranormal cozy mysteries.
by Carol J. Perry
I love Halloween, and not just because sometimes I write mysteries about spooky scary stuff that happens in October. I was born on Halloween eve, so there’s always a party on my birthday. Even better, I was born in Salem, Massachusetts.
When Kensington, the publisher of my Witch City Mystery series, asked if I’d like to write some paranormal mysteries, I jumped at the chance. Paranormal, to me, hints of ghosts. The wispy, shimmery, almost-not-there kind, the loud, noisy, throwing things kind, or the solid looking full manifestation kind, they all hold a wonderful fascination for me.
Be My Ghost, the first book in the new Haunted Haven mystery series, gave me the opportunity to bring some of my imaginary ghosts to temporary book-length life! Be My Ghost is a Halloween story where the action takes place in a made-up Florida town I call Haven. And boy, is it ever haunted!
Haven is created from bits and pieces of a variety of Florida small towns—the ones the big highways and the giant theme parks passed by. The story involves a haunted hotel. Every book involves research, so in this case I studied “Haunted Florida Hotels.” What a surprise—there are lots of cool haunts in the Sunshine State. Would you like to spend Halloween in St Augustine? Try the Casa Monica Hotel where late at night a roomful of ghosts in jazz-age attire waltz gracefully in the lobby. In St. Petersburg, The Hotel Indigo is home to a little girl ghost who plays and skips around on the third floor landing—She’s known to have once followed a guest home. Down in Key West at Marrero’s Guest Mansion, guests report a beautiful woman brushing her hair in the mirror. Some say they smell lavender perfume. There are lots more.
Even if you don’t want to spend the night with real ghosts, I think you’ll enjoy meeting some of my imaginary ones in Haven…Happy Halloween!
To enter to win a copy of Be My Ghost, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “my ghost,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 23, 2021. 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.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode goes up next week.
You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon or click here. 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. 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.