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The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

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Penelope Thornton-McClure manages a Rhode Island bookshop rumored to be haunted. When a bestselling author drops dead signing books, the first clue of foul play comes from the store's full-time ghost - a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago.


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Penelope Thornton-McClure manages a Rhode Island bookshop rumored to be haunted. When a bestselling author drops dead signing books, the first clue of foul play comes from the store's full-time ghost - a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago.

30 review for The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Tatroe

    I started out loving this book. I mean, seriously, an unapologetic, 1940s, hard-boiled, ghost detective haunting a thirty-something bookstore owner? I'll take Jack Shepard in my head commenting on my gams any day. I'm probably a huge discredit to my women's studies minor, but there's just something about a guy in a fedora calling you a "doll" that gets me every time. Sadly, the editing on The Ghost and Mrs. McClure was verging on horrible. The book is told in first person with occasional forays i I started out loving this book. I mean, seriously, an unapologetic, 1940s, hard-boiled, ghost detective haunting a thirty-something bookstore owner? I'll take Jack Shepard in my head commenting on my gams any day. I'm probably a huge discredit to my women's studies minor, but there's just something about a guy in a fedora calling you a "doll" that gets me every time. Sadly, the editing on The Ghost and Mrs. McClure was verging on horrible. The book is told in first person with occasional forays into limited third, from the ghost's point of view. At least once, a third person sentence slipped through in a first-person chapter. Very distracting. There was also a long dream section where the protagonist recounted a conversation she'd just heard to the ghost, who hadn't accompanied her. It was unnecessary and a classic newbie writer's mistake. I'd expect more from Alice Kimberly, who is actually a pen name for Alice Alfonsi and her husband, Marc Cerasini, who also write the Coffeehouse Mystery series as Cleo Coyle. I'm also astonished that these sorts of mistakes made it through to publication in a book that, at the very minimum, has been through the hands of two authors, an agent, and an editor. Disappointing! Did I mention how much I love Jack, though?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Cleo Coyle, the pen name of husband-and-wife writing team Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini, and is primarily known for writing "The CoffeeHouse Mystery" series, has another series written under another pseudonym of Alice Kimberly. "The Haunted Bookshop" features a bookshop owner who finds herself solving mysteries with the help of the bookshop's longtime resident: the ghost of a private eye who was murdered there in 1949. This first book in the series shares many similarities with "The Ghost and M Cleo Coyle, the pen name of husband-and-wife writing team Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini, and is primarily known for writing "The CoffeeHouse Mystery" series, has another series written under another pseudonym of Alice Kimberly. "The Haunted Bookshop" features a bookshop owner who finds herself solving mysteries with the help of the bookshop's longtime resident: the ghost of a private eye who was murdered there in 1949. This first book in the series shares many similarities with "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," originally a 1946 novel written by Josephine Leslie writing under the name R.A. Dick, but most people will likely remember it from the 1947 movie adaptation starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison or the 1968 TV series with Hope Lange and Edward Mulhare. Like its titular counterpart, this book features a recently widowed young mother, Penelope "Pen" Thornton-McClure, who moves with her child to the small, seaside hometown of Quindicott, Rhode Island to find a fresh start after the suicide of her husband. Amid rumors of the place being haunted, she buys into her aunt's failing bookshop business, determined to turn it around. Pen hopes that her first book signing will be a step in the right direction. Hard-boiled mystery writer Timothy Brennan, famous for his novels featuring "Jack Shield," based on the exploits of real-life private investigator Jack Shepard, is something of a letdown; he's rude, pompous and overbearing. Plus, Pen keeps hearing a persistent heckler during Brennan's presentation. And just as the author reveals a secret about her store's link to Shepard's disappearance over 50 years ago, he keels over dead himself. An even bigger surprise is waiting for Pen later that evening when she discovers that the heckler she was hearing during the event turns out to be the ghost of Jack Shepard himself, who tells her that Brennan's death was not from natural causes, but murder. The book is a little disjointed in the first chapter, as it starts with the aftermath of the author's murder, then flashes back to several hours before in the following chapters, but it has a brisk pace and was a quick read, The characters of Jack Shepard and Pen McClure are very well fleshed out, but many of the supporting characters are somewhat two-dimensional, particularly Pen's aunt Sadie (for the fun of it, I pictured her as Hope Lange, who played the widowed mother in "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" TV series). And while I enjoyed some of the excerpts that were featured at the beginning of each chapter since they were from hard-boiled mystery novels, some excerpts didn't seem to belong, like the ones featuring quotations from Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and in particular, the keynote address from the 2003 British Booksellers Association conference. However, I greatly enjoyed the bantering between Pen and Jack, as well as the scene in which Pen has a dream where she visits with Jack in his 1940's office, wearing clothes and hairstyle native to the time period. I liked the idea that as Pen works with her neighbors to solve the case, she is unable to tell them of certain clues because they were provided by her unseen ghostly partner. All in all, a fun read, and I'll be interested to check out other books in the series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tari

    With the newest of this series coming out soon, I just had to start the series so I would know what the buzz about Jack Shepard was. I can definitely say I'm in love with that ghost, lol! What an amazing character! He and Pen worked well together as a sleuthing team...once he convinced her that she wasn't crazy and that yes, she really could hear him in her brain. Jack talked her through a very cool sting operation to get the perp to confess. It worked and the person who killed the famous author With the newest of this series coming out soon, I just had to start the series so I would know what the buzz about Jack Shepard was. I can definitely say I'm in love with that ghost, lol! What an amazing character! He and Pen worked well together as a sleuthing team...once he convinced her that she wasn't crazy and that yes, she really could hear him in her brain. Jack talked her through a very cool sting operation to get the perp to confess. It worked and the person who killed the famous author in Pen's store was in custody. I really enjoyed the character of Pen's son, Spencer. He wasn't your typical kid. I imagined him as Young Sheldon only with a little more of a loving nature. I liked that he and Pen were strong enough to stand up to her late husband's family and let them know that Spencer wasn't going to cave and do what their McClure children did in high society. Spence loved the bookstore and helping his mom. I enjoyed the interaction of Aunt Sadie, although aside from Pen, Spencer and Jack, it's pretty clear that as nice as she is, those three are the primary characters, at least in this book. The cookie bakery owners, Linda and Milner seemed like nice people. Milner was a good comic relief at times. I can't wait to read the next book. I really am going to make myself wait before I dig into the 6th book when it releases. I want to savor all the awesomeness that is Jack Shepard!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)

    Well, I must say that I had fun reading this. The premise made me think of that movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. You have a newly opened bookshop, an author died at said bookshop and Penelope and her aunt along with Pen's son Spencer, running the store. All the while an investigation is going on surrounding the author's death. What happened? Any suspects? Add more to the widow's worries is ghost Jack Shepherd, haunting the bookstore. I stayed up a little, to finish this. I had maybe a couple of cha Well, I must say that I had fun reading this. The premise made me think of that movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. You have a newly opened bookshop, an author died at said bookshop and Penelope and her aunt along with Pen's son Spencer, running the store. All the while an investigation is going on surrounding the author's death. What happened? Any suspects? Add more to the widow's worries is ghost Jack Shepherd, haunting the bookstore. I stayed up a little, to finish this. I had maybe a couple of chapters left and wanted to know how the mystery would end, who done it, etc. I liked the writing style with the different dialogue chapters, given you an idea on whose who. That this was a quick read. I was surprised to find I was already halfway into the book, thinking, huh, wish this was a little longer, but that's okay. I'm curious as to where the story will go in the series, since near the end, it seems there's some, well unfinished business, concerning the fedora wearing ghost detective. Also liked, that there's some tension between the two, all the while Jack is helping Penelope with standing up for herself. I like that. Pretty good start to another new series I'm looking forward to catching up on.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I loved how this story began - the 1940's feel with dames, Doll Face, and gams. The cozy genre rarely gives this type of atmosphere and the hard-boiled detective flare is a refreshing start to a new-to-me series. Penelope Thorton-McClure (Pen to her friends) decides to move to Qunidicott, Rhode Island to help her aunt keep open a small and not very profitable family bookstore. With the small inheritance from her recently deceased husband, Pen and her young son move to this out of the way hamlet I loved how this story began - the 1940's feel with dames, Doll Face, and gams. The cozy genre rarely gives this type of atmosphere and the hard-boiled detective flare is a refreshing start to a new-to-me series. Penelope Thorton-McClure (Pen to her friends) decides to move to Qunidicott, Rhode Island to help her aunt keep open a small and not very profitable family bookstore. With the small inheritance from her recently deceased husband, Pen and her young son move to this out of the way hamlet in hopes of starting over and getting as far away from the wealthy and annoying McClure family as she can. Deciding that her money would be best used by expanding the bookshop into the area next door, Penelope does not realize that she has awoken a local ghost. Actually, this spirit is Jack Sheppard a 1940's detective that newly murdered author Timothy Brennan has been using as his inspiration for a fading book series. After the mysterious death of Mr. Brennan, Pen starts to hear voices, not just any voice, the voice of Jack Sheppard. It would be so nice if others could hear him, but of course it is only Pen and with Jack's help, they set off to find the killer of the annoying Mr. Brennan. Now, Buy the Book, is overwhelmed with the rabid fans of the recently departed author and all the weirdo's and crackpot are filling the store with their own illusions of the dead and if they can make a buck or two in doing so, then let the fun times begin. With the help of the disembodied voice, Pen puts together the wherefores of the mystery that surrounds them and with a small cast brings the events leading up to the murder to focus and therefore solving the crime in the brink of time to save her bookstore and to sell out all remaining copies of the dead man's books. The "why" of the mystery was easy to figure out, the how was unique, but the humor of 1940's Jack is what makes this book and will bring me back to the subsequent book in the series.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    "Baby, sounds to me like you're a picture being fitted for a frame, and the name of that frame is murder." Hard-boiled detective, Jack Sheperd, meets contemporary bookseller, Mrs. McClure. One is very much alive, in the literal sense. The other, though without a pulse, is alive in a different sort of sense. A sense that leaves McClure thinking she's lost all of her marbles, and then some. But oh what a delightful pair they make, in a literary whodunit sort of ghostly-good way. As cozies go, base "Baby, sounds to me like you're a picture being fitted for a frame, and the name of that frame is murder." Hard-boiled detective, Jack Sheperd, meets contemporary bookseller, Mrs. McClure. One is very much alive, in the literal sense. The other, though without a pulse, is alive in a different sort of sense. A sense that leaves McClure thinking she's lost all of her marbles, and then some. But oh what a delightful pair they make, in a literary whodunit sort of ghostly-good way. As cozies go, based on this first book, The Haunted Bookshop series seems to be delightfully aptly-written. I'm looking forward to reading next in series. From quirky characters to the quaint bookshop setting to meshing of contemporary dialogue with Sam Spade-ish lingo - it's a fun read. What a hoot!!! And the quotes at the beginning of each chapter featuring crime novelists and other wordsmiths - such as Mickey Spillane, Woody Allen, Mark Twain - gave the story/plot added pizzazz. "I distrust a closed-mouth man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong thing. Talking is something you can't do judiciously, unless you keep in practice." Dashiell Hammett, from the Maltese Falcon Overlooking a bit of predictability regarding "who" and "why" when it came to solving the mystery, The Ghost and Mrs. McClure is close, but not quite a four-star cozy. Perhaps, next in series - The Ghost and the Dead Deb- will be. Three - delightfully-good and uniquely fun - stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Nice little beginning to a ghost/cozy series. I loved the visualization of the book store that the main character, Mrs. McClure owns and operates. I love the ghost who is becoming her right hand detective towards the end. I look forward to other books in the series to see more of the ghost in her life. Using his intelligence, his wit and humor, his old time dialect like, "Sheatheart" and "Dame" ect.. Love it!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Deena

    I got through the first 65 pages. That was more than enough. I'm actually going to return this to B&N. For 6.99 I should at least be able to read what I buy. Boring, unoriginal characters who were described in each chapter, despite repeat information. Tissue-thin plot. Steroetypical sub-plot devices. I really wanted to like this, but I just couldn't. I like light reading, but this was too light for me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lauri Saplad

    This was my introduction to the haunted bookshop. Very cute story about the ghost of a hardboiled detective a la 'The Maltese Falcon' helping a dame in distress not only solve a murder, but learn about life and how to stand up for herself. Can't wait to read the rest in the series!

  10. 5 out of 5

    John

    dont get shot in a book store

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    First in the Haunted Bookshop mystery series set in a bookstore, Buy the Book, in Quindicott, Rhode Island. The Story The second item on the agenda is booking an author appearance with Timothy Brennan, author of that very popular detective series, Jack Shield, when his latest book, Shield of Justice comes out. With such a popular author, Pen hopes it will help put Buy the Book a bit higher up on the map not expecting that the author will drop over dead and incite a frenzy of book buying. It takes t First in the Haunted Bookshop mystery series set in a bookstore, Buy the Book, in Quindicott, Rhode Island. The Story The second item on the agenda is booking an author appearance with Timothy Brennan, author of that very popular detective series, Jack Shield, when his latest book, Shield of Justice comes out. With such a popular author, Pen hopes it will help put Buy the Book a bit higher up on the map not expecting that the author will drop over dead and incite a frenzy of book buying. It takes the ghost of the real Jack "Shield" Shephard to make Pen understand that she'd better solve this murder before she's arrested for it. The Characters Penelope Thornton-McClure is newly widowed after her husband leapt to his death from their New York City apartment building. When she hears from her Aunt Sadie that she is about to close the family bookstore, she and her young son, Spencer, head up to Rhode Island and invest the life insurance money in the shop. Spencer is 8-years-old and the center of a tug-of-war between his mother and the very wealthy McClures. They don't believe Pen is adequate to raise this young McClure and Pen is worried they'll find some way to take him from her. Her Aunt Sadie is a short, no-nonsense lady who welcomes Pen and Spencer. Jack Shepard was looking to help an old Army buddy of his from World War II when he was murdered in 1949 in the bookstore. Unable to leave, Jack has passed the time since with long bouts of sleep and scaring or playing jokes on anyone in the bookstore. Other townspeople include Linda Cooper-Logan and Milner Cooper who run Cooper Family Bakery. Linda excels at comfort food while Milner specializes in French pastry; J. Brainert Parker is an English professor and one of the investors in the old movie theater; Fiona Finch is a nosy parker who owns Finch's Inn along with her husband, Barney, Quindicott's only hotel; Marjorie Binder-Smith, a very opportunistic town-councilwoman out for her main chance (and screw the public); Vinny Nardini is the town delivery man; Officers Welsh Tibbet and Eddie Franzetti are two of the eight policemen for Quindicott; Syemour Tarnish is the town postman, ice cream man, and a Jeopardy winner; Bud Napp owns Cranberry Street Hardware; and Mr. Koh who owns Koh's Grocery Store. Timothy Brennan turns out to be a major jerk with a very unwelcome announcement. Turns out he was also a contemporary of that Jack Shepard. The same detective on whom Brennan bases the main character of his series. We get some major insight during Brennan's little speech where we learn just what Jack thinks of his "old friend"…and Pen gets her first "introduction" to the bookstore's resident ghost. Other characters particular to this story include Deirdre and Kenneth Franken, Brennan's daughter and son-in-law; Shelby Cabot, the publicist from Brennan's publisher; Josh Bernstein, Cabot's assistant; and, Anna Worth, an heiress who was harassed by Brennan in print. My Take The start is a bit confusing as Kimberly begins after the murder and jumps back and forth filling in the blanks until we're caught up. I have read other books which have, rarely, successfully used this technique to catch the reader's interest but I see no purpose for it here. I wish Kimberly had done a bit more with the Anna Worth character; seemed to be just a bit of filler without much purpose. I also have a difficult time believing that Penelope can be that naïve to think that Brennan falling over dead is the kiss of death for the bookstore. After all the years she spent in publishing in New York City, you'd think she'd understand what a killer opportunity it was!?? That said, The Ghost and Mrs. McClure's only similarity to The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a hard-bitten male character concerned for the missus' welfare. Jack certainly does express his interest in Pen's, ahem, figure and seems able to bring Pen over into his world through her dreams with some fairly physical results. There isn't much drama or tension in the story but it is a cute and homey start to this series and I'm looking forward to reading The Ghost and the Dead Deb. It will be challenging to see how Pen and Jack handle this as Jack is not able to move outside of the brick-and-mortar of the shop. The Cover The cover makes me think of Frank Lloyd Wright's stained glass as it frames the 1940-ish graphic of an old-fashioned bookstore interior complete with floating hat…Mr. Shepard's I presume?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Suzie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Riddled with clunky dialogue (which the writers apparently believed to be clever), unnecessary scenes, forced backstory, and a bizarre loathing for New York City, this book's one virtue is that it's a quick read. The victim is so unlikeable that the only reason I wanted to know who killed him was to see if the murderer was awarded a medal for humanitarianism. The one tantalizing hint that we would learn something about Jack Shepard's decades-old murder--his former connections to current victim Ti Riddled with clunky dialogue (which the writers apparently believed to be clever), unnecessary scenes, forced backstory, and a bizarre loathing for New York City, this book's one virtue is that it's a quick read. The victim is so unlikeable that the only reason I wanted to know who killed him was to see if the murderer was awarded a medal for humanitarianism. The one tantalizing hint that we would learn something about Jack Shepard's decades-old murder--his former connections to current victim Timothy Brennan--does not pan out, presumably to make it easier to stretch his mystery out over the course of the series. Indeed, we learn nothing at all about Jack Shepard except that he clearly read a few too many pulpy detective novels in his formative years. (His dialogue is laid on more than a little thick.) Perhaps it's because I was born in NYC, but the repeated slights against everyone and everything in the city grated on my nerves right from the beginning, as well. All City Folk Are Phony, Condescending, and Probably Villainous may as well have been the title of the book. I didn't need the constant repetition to understand that Pen (Pen... who works in a bookshop. How precious.) was more comfortable in her tiny hometown than she was in Manhattan. And has either of the authors ever actually met a small child from a Manhattan private school? I didn't think so, given that Pen's narration informs us that they all have precociously perfect diction. My mother thought I'd love this one, possibly because I adore The Maltese Falcon in all its hard-boiled glory, but Jack Shepard is little more than a bad, blurred copy of Sam Spade. I would like my 3 hours back, please.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Drebbles

    After her husband kills himself, Penelope Thornton-McClure, moved to Rhode Island with her seven year old son, Spencer, and buys into her aunt's bookstore. She arranges an appearance in the store by Timothy Brennan, author of a series of books based on the real-life unsolved murder of private eye Jack Shepard in that very location. Brennan, who turns out to be a jerk, chokes and dies during his talk at the store. There are plenty of suspects, including Penelope herself, who handed Brennan the ta After her husband kills himself, Penelope Thornton-McClure, moved to Rhode Island with her seven year old son, Spencer, and buys into her aunt's bookstore. She arranges an appearance in the store by Timothy Brennan, author of a series of books based on the real-life unsolved murder of private eye Jack Shepard in that very location. Brennan, who turns out to be a jerk, chokes and dies during his talk at the store. There are plenty of suspects, including Penelope herself, who handed Brennan the tainted water bottle that ended up killing him. Penelope plays detective to clear her name, with unexpected help from the ghost of Jack Shepard. This was a fun book to read. Having a ghost as one of the detectives is a clever idea and works well. Author Alice Kimberly does a great job of switching from Penelope's viewpoint (first person) to Jack's (third person). Also done well is Jack's dialogue. Since he died 50 years ago, he still sounds like a hard boiled detective from the 1950's and he is amazed at the current technology, such as computers, that Penelope uses to help solve the murder. Alice Kimberly knows and cares a lot about books and bookstores and it shows. The mystery itself was good, although I guessed a major plot twist fairly early. Still, this was an excellent first book in what promises to be an interesting series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    SUMMARY: Penelope Thornton-McClure manages a Rhode Island bookshop rumored to be haunted. When a bestselling author drops dead signing books, the first clue of foul play comes from the store's full-time ghost-a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago. Is he a figment of Pen's overactive imagination? Or is the likable, fedora-wearing specter the only hope Pen has to solve the crime? REVIEW: In a wonderful blend of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Philip Marlow, the ghost of Jack Shepherd SUMMARY: Penelope Thornton-McClure manages a Rhode Island bookshop rumored to be haunted. When a bestselling author drops dead signing books, the first clue of foul play comes from the store's full-time ghost-a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago. Is he a figment of Pen's overactive imagination? Or is the likable, fedora-wearing specter the only hope Pen has to solve the crime? REVIEW: In a wonderful blend of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Philip Marlow, the ghost of Jack Shepherd helps Pen McClure solve a murder that occurs in her bookstore. I really enjoyed the 40's viewpoint of Jack Shepherd versus Pen's modern day take. I have read other reviews that didn't care for the Jack's 40's vernacular, but I thought it was a refreshing change of pace for a cozy mystery. Pen definitely became a stronger person as she worked with Jack, and Jack was able to make her appreciate herself for who she was. I look forward to reading some more in this Haunted Bookshop mystery series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    bella

    The Ghost and Mrs McClure is the first in the paranormal cozy mystery series by Alice Kimberly. Penelope McClure and her son are settling back in her home town after the death of her husband. She's co-owner of her aunts bookstore now, and trying to turn a profit. Unfortunately her first author on your turns up dead and the police are pointing their fingers at her and she must solve the murder before she's arrested! I don't usually read paranormal cozy mysteries but if this book is an indication t The Ghost and Mrs McClure is the first in the paranormal cozy mystery series by Alice Kimberly. Penelope McClure and her son are settling back in her home town after the death of her husband. She's co-owner of her aunts bookstore now, and trying to turn a profit. Unfortunately her first author on your turns up dead and the police are pointing their fingers at her and she must solve the murder before she's arrested! I don't usually read paranormal cozy mysteries but if this book is an indication to this great sub-genre I need to read more. I really enjoyed this first book. I liked Penelope and the relationship she develops with the ghost-in-residence, Jack. They are the perfect combination of sweet and snark and it's a delight to watch the interactions. The murder mystery was really good and kept me guessing to the end. With the combination of interesting town folks and a background of the bookstore, it was a great read. If you like cozy mysteries that centre around a bookstore I strongly recommend this series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chana

    A very cute story, a light mystery featuring a young female co-owner of a bookstore (Penelope) and the murdered detective who haunts the bookstore (Jack). When a best-selling author drops dead during a book signing at the newly re-vamped bookstore Penelope thinks the bookstore will fail but the opposite happens as people now are anxious to procure a book by this author from the location in which he died. When it looks like murder rather than a heart attack the crowds go wild purchasing books. Bu A very cute story, a light mystery featuring a young female co-owner of a bookstore (Penelope) and the murdered detective who haunts the bookstore (Jack). When a best-selling author drops dead during a book signing at the newly re-vamped bookstore Penelope thinks the bookstore will fail but the opposite happens as people now are anxious to procure a book by this author from the location in which he died. When it looks like murder rather than a heart attack the crowds go wild purchasing books. But the police suspect Penelope of being an accomplice in this murder and she has to try to solve the case and fight back. Jack, whom she does not believe in at first, helps her out. If a romance can develop between the living and dead it happens here and it is very sweet.

  17. 5 out of 5

    F

    Even though I read every word of this paperback, I couldn't help thinking every time I picked it up that the book was definitely a waste of my time. Bluntly speaking, I conclude that it is a terrible disappointment for a cozy mystery. I wholeheartedly agree with another review listed here that Chapter 15, Penelope's dream was totally unnecessary, adding absolutely nothing to the novel. I also thought Chapter 12 -- Penelope stumbling around in a chat room -- was useless as well. It will probably Even though I read every word of this paperback, I couldn't help thinking every time I picked it up that the book was definitely a waste of my time. Bluntly speaking, I conclude that it is a terrible disappointment for a cozy mystery. I wholeheartedly agree with another review listed here that Chapter 15, Penelope's dream was totally unnecessary, adding absolutely nothing to the novel. I also thought Chapter 12 -- Penelope stumbling around in a chat room -- was useless as well. It will probably be a long time, if ever, I hunt for Book Two to this series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

    The beginning of a series of mysteries which are essentially American cozies. Very good writing and a solid series concept make this a good read. The mystery revolves around the death/murder of a famous detective crime writer based on the files of a real detective killed in the 1940s. So happens he was killed in the building which is now a bookstore and he is haunting it. Mrs. McClure is a young widow raising her son above her aunts once failing bookstore. FIlled with great characters and twists The beginning of a series of mysteries which are essentially American cozies. Very good writing and a solid series concept make this a good read. The mystery revolves around the death/murder of a famous detective crime writer based on the files of a real detective killed in the 1940s. So happens he was killed in the building which is now a bookstore and he is haunting it. Mrs. McClure is a young widow raising her son above her aunts once failing bookstore. FIlled with great characters and twists and turns. Loved this.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I gave this 40 pages and quit. The 1940's hard boiled detective dialogue was so over the top that it was ridiculous. I thought it was meant to be farcical but as I kept reading I realized it was serious. The main character, Penelope, didn't hold my interest and I decided to not waste any more time on this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    A cute, easy read. I enjoyed the ghost helping solve the mystery in the book. I'll probably try the second in the series to see if I want to continue reading them.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This one took me a bit to get into and understand who was who. But once that was all straight in my head is was a fun read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    C.

    It took a few chapters to absorb this new environment and first journey with Alice Kimberley. I long ago tired of 18 year-old heiresses, or sassy singles but don’t relate to Moms or divorcées either. At last, Penelope McClure is a character that meets in the middle. It didn’t take long to like this protagonist: nearer my age, flipping the bird at opinionated in-laws to pursue her own business. She had an unhappy marriage but more originally, she is a widow of suicide and her son neatly fits into It took a few chapters to absorb this new environment and first journey with Alice Kimberley. I long ago tired of 18 year-old heiresses, or sassy singles but don’t relate to Moms or divorcées either. At last, Penelope McClure is a character that meets in the middle. It didn’t take long to like this protagonist: nearer my age, flipping the bird at opinionated in-laws to pursue her own business. She had an unhappy marriage but more originally, she is a widow of suicide and her son neatly fits into the picture; caring for his cat and helping at the store. The mystery is multifaceted and requires sleuthing and psychological profiling to solve. The most unique element is the ghost of a 1940s detective, teaching our heroine how to piece clues together and examine patterns with logic. It would be easy for any author to fall into the overdone mafia accent. These authors didn’t. The private eye’s tone isn’t Italian but old New York. I loved the flavour it brought, which matches his period. Jack Sheppard was a famous investigator, who the world doesn’t know was murdered at the site of Penelope’s store. They both discover that they can converse telepathically and since he can’t leave the premises, urges her to solve her guest author’s death. The environment doesn’t feel very metaphysical. At least one’s first encounter per ghost should carry reverence. The very few novelists writing any ghosts nowadays, fail at that; being too nonchalant about an apparition or making a mockery of what ought to be spooky or surreal. Perhaps I’ll find that dynamic elsewhere in this series. Other than the ‘too cool to ruffle’ aunt and her rival, the political lady; I like Penelope’s townspeople. Her growth feels natural and I imagine Jack will learn from her too.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andi

    I really loved this book. It finally was based on a cozy mystery scenario that so far had not been repeated over and over in other books which simply changed the locations and career choices of the main character, but were all basically the same in the end. There were some editing issues, as mentioned in another review. Additional ones included two people having quotations in the same paragraph and I think there was some confusion about the quoted sentences in Pen’s head when she was talking to I really loved this book. It finally was based on a cozy mystery scenario that so far had not been repeated over and over in other books which simply changed the locations and career choices of the main character, but were all basically the same in the end. There were some editing issues, as mentioned in another review. Additional ones included two people having quotations in the same paragraph and I think there was some confusion about the quoted sentences in Pen’s head when she was talking to Jack the ghost and sometimes some of the conversational thinking on her part was not quoted but he responded to her thoughts anyway. However, I am coming to find out how lax the editing industry has become and am starting to simply overlook it, because I am finding these kinds of errors repeatedly in books over the last 10 years or so. Other than that, this is the kind of storyline I like. The characters were versatile and I think fit well with the comedic enterprise of a small town and all its hassles and the different folks that live there. The dream sequence I thought shook things up a bit and I like an author who can mix it up, while I know some people don’t like that. I don’t think in this case it was an author error to put that in at all. I liked that the backstory on how Jack became a ghost is left lingering for future books. I rarely give a 5 star rating to a first book in a series, but this one truly appealed to me like none other so far. I look forward to reading the rest.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Edel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the first book in the haunted bookshop series and what a fun series this is. Our two main characters are Penelope, the bookshop owner ,and Jack the resident ghost .Jack was previously a detective and he died in the store many years ago but for whatever reason cannot pass through to where ever dead people go to. You might think it might be inconvenient to have a ghost running about the place but it sure comes in handy when a murder is commited in the store. Penelope moves to the town( Qui This is the first book in the haunted bookshop series and what a fun series this is. Our two main characters are Penelope, the bookshop owner ,and Jack the resident ghost .Jack was previously a detective and he died in the store many years ago but for whatever reason cannot pass through to where ever dead people go to. You might think it might be inconvenient to have a ghost running about the place but it sure comes in handy when a murder is commited in the store. Penelope moves to the town( Quindicott ,Rhode Island)after her she becomes a widow ,she takes her son from where they lived in New York and they set up home here and penelope takes over the family buisness while injecting it with a fresh new look. There is the sudden death of an author at a book signing and it is up to Penelope and Jack to find out what happened .I love Jack's character!!, I do think there is a little bit of flirting going on between Jack and Penelope and it is really fun to read. I can picture him in my head so clearly with his charm and flirty sarcastic chat, it is just what Penelope needs in her life right now and their conversations are really cute . I can't wait to read more in the series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I liked this book well enough, and it is more like 31/2 stars for me. It would have been higher except for the fact that the author tries a little too hard, so much to the fact that it seems forced, to sound like a hard boiled detective novel with the character of Jack Shepard, the ghost in the title. Yes, he was a private eye in the 1940's and has been a ghost for many years, but not everyone talked like that all the time! It became tedious for me to slog through what exactly he was saying at t I liked this book well enough, and it is more like 31/2 stars for me. It would have been higher except for the fact that the author tries a little too hard, so much to the fact that it seems forced, to sound like a hard boiled detective novel with the character of Jack Shepard, the ghost in the title. Yes, he was a private eye in the 1940's and has been a ghost for many years, but not everyone talked like that all the time! It became tedious for me to slog through what exactly he was saying at times,and as I have not really read "Mike Hammer" stories or "Thin Man" stories (love the movies) or others of the genre, so I may have gotten more our of it if I did/do. As an homage to the origins of the genre, it is really well written mystery and this is why I will read book 2, again hoping that this was a case of "first book of the series" itis.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    The title is no coincidence. This is an homage (or rip off) of the Ghost and Mrs. Muir, only instead of a salty sea captain, the ghost is a salty private investigator. Actually, I should say he is a private dick, because that's probably what he would have said. He was murdered in a bookstore while working a case in a small Rhode Island town in 1949. Now he's helping a young widow with a son solve the murder of a crime story novelist in her book store. Much like the film, there are meddling in-la The title is no coincidence. This is an homage (or rip off) of the Ghost and Mrs. Muir, only instead of a salty sea captain, the ghost is a salty private investigator. Actually, I should say he is a private dick, because that's probably what he would have said. He was murdered in a bookstore while working a case in a small Rhode Island town in 1949. Now he's helping a young widow with a son solve the murder of a crime story novelist in her book store. Much like the film, there are meddling in-laws. And of course there's the mutual attraction that's forming between Penelope McClure and Jack Shepard to provide the highly problematic romance element. It a diverting read that's good for the beach or an airport. Sort of like watching the Hallmark channel.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This looked like such a cute book about the ghost of a detective helping a bookstore owner solve mysteries. But I only read about 90 pages and put it down in disgust. The ghost was a very "dirty old man" who kept bragging about all of the prostitutes he'd been to, who watched the heroine take a bath (That's where I quit), and who couldn't say two words without swearing and being offensive (to me). And it's too bad, because I really liked the story. Why do authors insist on putting garbage into b This looked like such a cute book about the ghost of a detective helping a bookstore owner solve mysteries. But I only read about 90 pages and put it down in disgust. The ghost was a very "dirty old man" who kept bragging about all of the prostitutes he'd been to, who watched the heroine take a bath (That's where I quit), and who couldn't say two words without swearing and being offensive (to me). And it's too bad, because I really liked the story. Why do authors insist on putting garbage into books? There are plenty of clean books out there. I'm not going to waste my time reading this type of book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Yodamom

    Old school dectective story with twist. The dectective is long dead. He haunts a mystery bookstore and helps solve a terrible crime. His 1940's noir stlye adds to his character's gruffness and appeal. I enjoyed the mystery but not the noir style at least for the first half. I was never a fan of the old dectective style and lingo. Gam instead of leg? It got much better in the second half as I started to get comfortable with the wordplay. I am 50/50 on continuing with the series. It left an unsolve Old school dectective story with twist. The dectective is long dead. He haunts a mystery bookstore and helps solve a terrible crime. His 1940's noir stlye adds to his character's gruffness and appeal. I enjoyed the mystery but not the noir style at least for the first half. I was never a fan of the old dectective style and lingo. Gam instead of leg? It got much better in the second half as I started to get comfortable with the wordplay. I am 50/50 on continuing with the series. It left an unsolved murderer open and I do want to know who/ why.....LOL

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This is the first book in this Haunted Bookshop series. It's a wonderful idea for a book/ series but somehow the book itself just falls flat. The action is too slow and the living characters not very well defined. I couldn't remember who the people were half of the time and had to go back and look them up. Also, the ghost made me feel a bit uncomfortable by reminding me of a 1930's gangster. Now HE was well defined! Maybe the series improved as it went on. There are many titles so obviously some This is the first book in this Haunted Bookshop series. It's a wonderful idea for a book/ series but somehow the book itself just falls flat. The action is too slow and the living characters not very well defined. I couldn't remember who the people were half of the time and had to go back and look them up. Also, the ghost made me feel a bit uncomfortable by reminding me of a 1930's gangster. Now HE was well defined! Maybe the series improved as it went on. There are many titles so obviously someone liked them! I'll give the series another try.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    I loved the relationship between Penelope and Jack and wished there was a lot more dialogue between them throughout the book. Overall I loved the story and it captured my attention but there were other times when the story got so dry that I would lose attention. The book actually lost my attention 3/4 of the way through the book and I put the book down and almost didn't finish it. Once I got past the "dry" part, it picked up again and ended well. I hope the later books in the series don't have t I loved the relationship between Penelope and Jack and wished there was a lot more dialogue between them throughout the book. Overall I loved the story and it captured my attention but there were other times when the story got so dry that I would lose attention. The book actually lost my attention 3/4 of the way through the book and I put the book down and almost didn't finish it. Once I got past the "dry" part, it picked up again and ended well. I hope the later books in the series don't have this problem.

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