Monday, April 27, 2020

Bones Behind the Wheel by E.J. Copperman

Alison Kerby owns the Haunted Guesthouse Inn, where guests are regularly treated to some high-spirited hijinks courtesy of some of the previous inhabitants of the inn. . .the late previous inhabitants.  Alison gets varying levels of cooperation, depending on how engaged the ghosts are at the moment because each one of them has his or her own agenda.  Paul, for example, was a detective and intends to keep on investigating crimes.  He is thrilled when construction workers uncover a real doozy:  a buried 1977 Lincoln Continental with a body inside, seat-belted behind the wheel.

Alison is determined not to get involved in yet another mystery, but when the investigation threatens to hurt her business, she doesn’t have much choice.

Meanwhile, ghost Maxie wants to have a hand in redesigning the kitchen, and Alison’s new husband Josh tries to cope with a household full of people he can’t see.

While it would seem that having ghosts around would make solving mysteries a breeze, that’s not the case.  There are restrictions on how much Paul and company can move around without help, and they can’t just go talk to any other spirit they wish.  Some are simply not available and others don’t want to talk.  Also, they have to know exactly who they are trying to contact.

This was my first visit to Haunted Guesthouse, but it was a lot of fun.  I admit that I times I got confused as to who was alive and who wasn’t, and who can see and hear the ghosts and who can’t.  I also missed out on some of the complex relationships that exist, but for the most part that wasn’t so much a problem as much as it was just the sense that I would have gotten more enjoyment if I had known more. I felt this especially in regard to Maxie and Alison.

Alison is level-headed, one of those people who tries to head off problems early.  She has her hands full with the ghosts, who are frustrated by their inability to participate in the things they did while alive.  Paul is easy going and enthusiastic, so he is more understanding than the more volatile Maxie. Josh isn’t able to see or hear the ghosts, but he is open to the idea and would love to be able to interact with them. Not so the local police officer, Lt. McElone, who wants nothing to do with the spirits and is happy NOT to see them.  Good thing, because Paul is always anxious to follow her around to get tips on how to conduct investigations, interrogations, and the like. 

This was an inventive and charming cozy mystery with an intriguing plot and interesting characters.  I’d previously read one of the Asperger’s Mysteries co-written with Jeff Cohen, and enjoyed it so I was looking forward to this one.  I wasn’t disappointed.

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