by Cynthia Chow & Cleo Coyle
This week we have a review of the latest Haunted Bookshop Mystery by Cleo Coyle, along with a fun guest post by Cleo about why they brought this series back. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a special giveaway from Cleo Coyle, and a link to purchase the new book from Amazon.
The Ghost and the Stolen Tears: A Haunted Bookshop Mystery By Cleo Coyle
Review by Cynthia Chow
It’s been several years since Penelope Thornton-McClure moved back to her hometown of Quindicott, Rhode Island, to help her Aunt Sadie run their Buy the Book shop, and with Pen’s publishing experience they have expanded the store physically while increasing their sales online. No small part of their success has been the seasonal Fall help of the nomadic Norma Stanton, who has a gift of being a book-whisperer able to find the perfect book for a customer’s needs. As much as Pen trusts the mysterious, vagabond woman with a talent for empathy and a love of reading, Jack Shepard is far less trusting. Perhaps that’s because the private investigator, who haunts the bookshop and travels with her through a coin, met his end due to a shady client almost seventy years ago. Construction of the bookshop brought back his ghost to help through a number of murder investigations, with the noir-esque gumshoe always providing jaded insight and crime-detecting knowledge. Perhaps that’s why he immediately suspects Norma’s “hobo” lifestyle, especially when a valuable necklace goes missing from the Inn where she’s been working in exchange for room and board.
The Tears of Valentino has a connection to Jack as well, as from the first chapter we learn that he was hired to track down the necklace when it first went missing in 1947. The jewels were a gift given by the legendary leading actor Rudolph Valentino to win back his ex-wife, and now both Pen and Jack are on the case in the present to prove Norma’s innocence, which is looking less likely now that she’s also disappeared. To give Pen a little more knowledge about the necklace’s legacy Jack takes Pen back into his own investigation through her dreams, where she becomes a “real” participant in his case. As they work to solve a jewel heist in two different timelines, Pen is helped in the current one by her friends from childhood known as the Three Musketeers, while in the past she goes undercover in a club where ladies buy dances from appealing young men and celebrity lookalikes. An insurance investigator and very angry Instagram influencers put on the pressure for Pen in the current timeline to track down the Nomad, clear Norma, and remove the cloud of doubt over a friend’s Inn.
Eight books into this series (and nearly twenty years since its debut), Pen and Jack have established a comfortable relationship investigating murders together while just tip-toeing into the line of romance. Logistically any actual romance should be impossible, but their time-tripping journeys into Jack’s memory sparks hints of the possibility. Jack’s rather outdated viewpoints never prevent the ghost from learning new tricks, with him continually being impressed by Pen and her resilience. The writing duo who write under the name Cleo Coyle celebrate the best of noir while giving it a modern twist, and the sparkling dialogue and witty banter will have readers wanting to delve into the old classics. The detective team of modern Pen and 1940s PI Jack shouldn’t make sense, but it always does, with Jack’s jaded outlook being balanced out by Pen’s “woke” optimism. This continues to be one of the most original and entertaining cozy/noir/paranormal mystery series of the past twenty years, and readers should hope that it continues for twenty more.
Why We Re-Opened Our Haunted Bookshop
By Cleo Coyle
Back in 2004, my husband and I published our very first Haunted Bookshop Mystery, The Ghost and Mrs. McClure. Sound familiar? That was by design, because one of my favorite ghost stories of all time inspired my vision for the series, and I wanted everyone to know where my inspiration came from: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, originally published in 1945.If you are familiar with that particular ghost story, then you know it is not a murder mystery, not even close. But in that tale, I saw many things—including the seeds for a series of amateur sleuth adventures. An earnest widow who runs a bookshop, haunted by a gruff male ghost, might just work as a dynamic sleuthing pair. And so…
With my husband as co-writer, we set out to develop that basic concept into a series of entertaining murder mysteries. It was a risky idea back then. But with some hard work and creative thinking, we did it, and it paid off as a smashing success with all five books becoming national bestsellers.
After five years of writing our Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, however, Marc and I decided to put the series on hiatus. The decision may seem like an odd one from today’s perspective, but at that time (2009), the book business was reeling. A digital revolution had shaken the trade. Really shaken it. Nearly everyone, from publishing CEOs to authors and booksellers, began openly speculating whether bookstores (like the one run by our amateur sleuth) would survive much longer. Some even believed that print books would disappear in a mere ten years!
We had no crystal ball, and we could not predict whether our “bookshop” stories would make sense in a world that had no physical books or bookshops. So, we took a step back and put our primary focus on writing our bestselling Coffeehouse Mysteries.
Fast-forward to today, and we know three things are true.
(1) Unlike our ghost, print books are still very much alive.
(2) Bookstores, thank goodness, are far from dead, and…
(3) Our readers sorely missed our series! Their emails, messages, and comments on posts made that clear enough. We expected their feelings to subside over time, but they never did. And since we missed our Haunted Bookshop world as much as they did, we asked our publisher if they would support our decision to make our ghost reappear. As you can see, they gave us a big, fat YES, and we are grateful for their belief in us.
We are even more grateful to our loyal readers, who waited so long for our Jack to come back.
And who is “our Jack”?
He is the wisecracking spirit of a hard-boiled private investigator who met his end while pursuing a lead in a case and now haunts the Rhode Island bookshop where he (ironically) caught lead poisoning. That very shop is now managed by our amateur sleuth, Penelope, a young widow who is trying her level best to raise a little boy on her own. Jack occasionally helps with that, too.
Gradually, the gumshoe ghost became Penelope’s invisible best friend and a handy advisor when big-city crimes come to Pen’s small town—and what a charming town it is. Quindicott is far less posh than nearby Newport, but its residents have created a neighborly community, making it a remarkably pleasant place to live, even if you happen to be dead.
We now invite you to join Jack and Pen as they solve their latest mystery in The Ghost and the Stolen Tears. Although it’s the eighth book in our series, you can jump right in. We write every book as a stand-alone so that new readers will not be lost.
And if you enjoy our latest, you have seven more titles to explore. Here they are in order with their publication dates. May they lift your own spirits!
Cleo Coyle’s Haunted Bookshop Mysteries
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure, 2004
The Ghost and the Dead Deb, 2005
The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library, 2006
The Ghost and the Femme Fatale, 2008
The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion, 2009
The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller, 2018
The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait, 2021
The Ghost and the Stolen Tears, 2022
And our upcoming release…
The Ghost Goes to the Dogs, May 2023
GIVEAWAY! COMMENT TO ENTER-
Cleo’s Haunted Bookshop Prize Package:
An autographed copy of THE GHOST AND THE STOLEN TEARS
A sturdy canvas Haunted Bookshop tote bag
A collection of Cleo’s favorite recipe cards
And a Mystery Prize!
A winner will be chosen on November 3, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode perfect for Halloween went up last week.
You can listen to the first chapter of the first book in the Haunted Bookshop Series on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast either by clicking here or on the player below:
You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.
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.
Love Jack and Pen!
This book sounds great and is right up my alley as I love mysteries and old movie stars. I collect old movie stars photos and memorabilia all the way back to 1915 or so. Valentino was a favorite and I got to see what is left of Falcon’s Lair in 2019 in Hollywood. I also love private detectives (Sam Spade) from that era and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” was an all-time favorite if mine. I can’t wait to read this book.
I just rediscovered this series and I love it! I had only read the first 2 books, and now I am working on reading the rest. It is a very imaginative series! I have also read the entire Coffeehouse Mystery series! Wish both of these series could be turned into streaming series.
I’m so glad Haunted Bookshop is back! I love all of Cleo Coyle’s books. I’m especially fond of the Coffeeshop Mysteries.
Cannot wait to play a side gum shoe in these mysteries. Jack and Pen sound like quite a pair!!
Thanks for the chance!!! Love the coffee house series
This is a favorite series for me. My happy place!
i enjoy reading the haunted bookshop mysteries. Thank you for a chance to win!
My absolute favorite series! Thank you for the chance! ?
Thank you for the chance to win your wonderful giveaway!!!!?
I have read Cleo Coyle’s other series but haven’t tried this one yet, and I would love to!
The wonderful review by Cynthia Chow expressed how much fun this series is better than I ever could. I love the Haunted Bookshop mysteries, too. I am in the middle of reading The Ghost and the Stolen Tears, and living in Jack and Pen’s world (with Jack!) is a delightful dream that I don’t want to end.
I haven’t read this series, but I’ll definitely be checking it out.
Thanks for the chance to win.
I love Jack and Pru, perfect together. Always happy to see another book! Thanks for the giveaway.
Love this series!!!
I enjoyed all the ghost mysteries by Cleo Coyle. I just ordered the new one after I read this review.
The Ghost and the Stolen Tears: A Haunted Bookshop Mystery by Cleo Coyle is a book I want to read. I have read and enjoyed other books in this series.
I have read and enjoyed all of Cleo Coyle’s mysteries. What wonderful series that are unique and captivating. Jack is my favorite character and the series is intriguing and extremely enjoyable. I love the era and the locale. It resonates with me. When I was young I watched the program The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and loved it since the acting and story was memorable.
Love your books and all your fascinating sites so unique and fun!!
Jack and Pen are my ultimate favorite people. The series is a brilliant and fascinating escape for me.
I love the coffeehouse series and would love a chance to win this.
I cannot wait to read this book. It looks so interesting. Thank you for the review.
This is such a fun series. Jack is an awesome character!
I am excited to start reading this series!
I love Jack and Pen and I am enjoying the new book!
Long live this series! I never realized it was on the back burner. I just thought y’all only released one now and then. I’d love to read this one! Thank you for a chance.
One of my favorite series. Its a happy place for me!
This is a fun series. Can’t wait to read
the next installment. thanks
This sounds like such a great series. I’m looking forward to reading the stories.
This sounds like an amazing adventure. Thanks for the chance.
A duo whose extraordinary series is incomparable and unforgettable.
Great series. Sleuth and ghost such a fun concept. Always excited for the next book!
Haven’t read any of this series yet, but looking forward to starting it!
I am a Cleo Coyle fan! Thanks for the chance to win this!!
I just recently found the Haunted Bookshop series while searching to see if I was up to date with the Coffeehouse series. I’m glad I found the Haunted Bookshop books. I listen to them on audiobook while on my daily walks. I really enjoyed this review of the newest book and can’t wait to read (listen to) this one but it will be a while since I’m only on book 4 right now.
I LOVE Cleo’s books! The Haunted series is awesome!
Thanks for sharing! Good luck to Cleo for the success of the book!
Great Review. I would love to review one if not all of these books in print format. Looks and sounds like a great book.
Hope I Win
I was so excited to hear that Jack and Pen were back for another mystery. I’ve missed them!
I love the coffeehouse mysteries and think this series will be just as good and entertaining.
I really enjoy this series. Pen and Jack are two well developed characters and the mysteries are always have a great twist. Cleo’s Coffeehouse series is also 5 star. Enjoyed the review.
I love this series and adore Jack & Pen! The book sounds amazing.
I so enjoy the family atmosphere of the team Cleo Coyle brings!
One of my favorite series!! I can’t wait to read this latest book!
So glad the series is open again after hiatus!
I am currently reading The Ghost and Stolen Tears and it may be the best Haunted Bookshop mystery yet! I have read all of them and all the Coffeehouse Mysteries. Fabulous! Keep up the amazing work, Cleo!
In my TBR pile
Just finished the book. Enjoyed very much. Looking forward to the next one.
I have not read any books in this series, but they sound great! I look forward to starting this series.
I love Jack. I picture him as a Bogart type character. He and Pen’s banter is like an old married couple. I’m new to the series as the Haunted Portrait was my introduction. I’m getting ready to read the Stolen Tears now.
This book sounds like my kind of read. Thank you for the chance.
Sounds like a good read.
Love all books by Cleo Coyle! Just discovered Cleo recently and have been binging all books. Sigh. What a great experience.
I for one, am so glad Jack is Back! I took a critical film review class on Film Noir in college and have since been in love the genre. When I picked up the first Haunted Bookshop novel, I had the thrill of creating the picture of a crime drama, complete with dames, heaters, and lettuce, without the screen…I was thrilled! Jack the ghostly detective is the perfect partner for Pen the sleuth. Wonderful series, and I’d watch the movie 😉
I am new to mystery books, but I’m loving them! I know I would love this book!
I’d love to read this! firstname.lastname@example.org
Fun to learn more details about Jack and why the series was halted for so many years. I started reading when the first book came out, and didn’t know why it abruptly ended. Thank heavens that reasoning was faulty! Bookstores and Libraries are two of the best things in life!
Dreams do come true! Thank you for bringing this awesome series back. Can’t wait to read the new one 🙂
I love this series. I tried to hold the latest one back in case there was more time between new releases but my willpower lost the battle. I just adore Jack and Pen and how well they blend their differences to solve the case!! I just had a birthday and this would be a very enjoyable belated gift from them.
I would love to read this series. Due to family obligations I am stuck in the house a great deal and reading helps to keep me sane.
I absolutely love this /these books!! Ever one take you on a trip you can’t help but enjoy!
I’m one of those original readers who left comments begging for the series to be brought back. I’m so grateful that it was! This is a wonderfully entertaining series that removes me from real life for just a bit. I enjoyed reading the point of view in this review as well, so interesting to look at the series from a new angle.
Such a cool looking book cover! Sounds great too!! Thank you for the chance to win your wonderful giveaway!!!!!?
Just came across this series not too long ago. Excited to begin reading more of these books.
I too hope both the series by the Cleo Coyle team continue to at least the next 20 years!
I have a complete set of the coffee house mysteries! Looking forward to this new book in the Bookshop series! Thank you for writing such great books.
Your books are amazing! I like both series and have a whole collection of them on my keeper shelf. I am looking forward to reading your new book soon! Thanks for the awesome, amazing, award winning giveaway!
Love both series!
I have loved every book by Cleo Coyle that I have read.
I love this series!! I was hooked from the very first read of the Ghost and Mrs. Mclure. love the film noir/ghost which made me delve deeper into that genre of movies. Love the old movies and your books have me hooked! This was my first introduction to Cleo’s books and now I have every one of them, both series! Thank you for taking me places that couldn’t have imagined I would go! Keep them coming.
I’m so happy to hear that the Haunted Bookshop series it is back! It was one of my favorites, and I can’t wait to read this latest installment!
I’ve got all the books that have been published in this series so far. I love the series! I always finish a book wanting another adventure with these two unlikely sleuths…Pen and Jack!
Sounds like a book to be read just before Halloween. A book I know I would enjoy reading.
Love the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries!! Cleo is one of my favorite authors!! Can’t wait to read the latest book in the series!
I would love to get a copy, sounds good!
I loved the previous haunted bookshop books. Can’t wait to read more adventures of Penny and Jack. Cheers!
So glad that Penny and Jack are back. Can’t wait to read about their next adventures. Cheers!
So glad that Penny and Jack are back. Looking forward to reading about their next adventure. Cheers!
As much as I love your coffee series, I was so afraid that Penny and Jack were gone from my life. So happy they are not and looking forward to the next boo,
I’m looking forward to this one!
I guess I’m repeating so many others, but I’m so glad this series is back up and running. Keep these books coming!
Wow! Thanks to everyone for all your kind comments. Marc and I are reading (and enjoying) every single one. We’ll stop back again, but we wanted to let you all know how happy we are to see so many of you stopping by to help us celebrate the release of our new Haunted Bookshop Mystery.
Thanks to Kings River Life Magazine and Editor-in-Chief, Lorie Lewis Ham, for inviting us back, and cheers to Cynthia Chow for taking the time to read and review The Ghost and the Stolen Tears. Your review made our day, Cynthia, and your last lines absolutely stunned us. Thank you so much!
This is a great series as are the Coffeehouse mysteries. Great characters and great writing.
This sounds good!
Would absolutely love to win your giveaway!!!! Your books sound wonderful!!!
I quite enjoy both the Bookstore and Coffeehouse mysteries
I love your books and can’t wait to dive into this one. Thanks for continuing to provide such joy.
I enjoyed the review. Jack sounds like quite the character. Sounds like a great series with a nice touch of the paranormal. Thanks for the giveaway!
We have a winner!