It seems like the Ghost of Hollow House may have been Agatha Christie as this tale fits right in her wheelhouse.
In Victorian England, Mina uncovers fraudulent mediums. She also writes fictional mysteries that include spiritual elements. When she is asked to uncover the reason for the haunting of a newly married friend’s mansion, she is skeptical. But when she sees a mysterious lady in white in the window when first arriving at Hollow House, she becomes intrigued. Perhaps this haunting will bring her real evidence from the other side.
Mina is a great character. Her ability to press past her disabilities and the oppression of females prevalent in Victorian times is empowering.
The mystery was challenging as well. Though I didn’t figure out whodunit or why until after the intrepid Mina, I clearly saw the clues in hindsight.
Ghost of Hollow House did resemble Agatha Christie’s mysteries in both its complexity and portrayal of English village life. I would have liked slightly more backstory for the main characters. I’ll be looking for the previous three books in this series, as well as any future entries, when I feel like reading a jolly good mystery. 4 stars!
Thanks to Sapere Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Kindle Unlimited, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Paranormal Tagged with: ghosts, May 24 2019
The Invited is a ghost story of multigenerational family drama rather the mystery I expected.
Helen and Nate decide to quit their teaching jobs and move to rural Vermont. They buy a large parcel of land and begin building their house. The land includes a bog where a suspected witch, Hattie, was hanged ninety-one years earlier. Hattie had told her twelve year old daughter, Jane, to hide in their house’s root cellar until she came back, which now she would never do.
Fourteen year old Olive lives next to Nate and Helen. Ostracized by the town, she wants the new neighbors to go back to the city. Olive is also haunted by her mother’s disappearance one year earlier.
The Invited has many plot threads that are conveniently, maybe too conveniently, wrapped up by the end of the book. While there are mysteries here, the book is really a ghost story that includes many characters that have precognition. If you are in the mood for an atmospheric ghost story, this book is a good choice. However, the mystery’s solution is easily guessed. 3 stars.
Thanks to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Paranormal Tagged with: Apr 30 2019, ghosts
Priest holes, mysterious ghosts, secret passages and skeletons figure prominently in Footsteps in the Dark.
Siblings Peter, Celia and Margaret inherit the Priory, a large ancient country estate, from their Uncle. They, along with Celia’s husband Charles, decide to move in.
Footsteps in the Dark was originally published in 1932. It was the first thriller by an author who was most famous for her historical romances. I think that was my issue with the book. It was a fun read. However, it seemed as if the author was trying to use every overused thriller cliché. The local police are incompetent bumblers. The recently inherited country estate is haunted. Some of the “surprises” during the conclusion were obvious from almost the beginning of the book.
Overall, Footsteps in the Dark is more a curiosity than a good thriller. It is only recommended for fans of British Golden Age mysteries who are trying to read everything still in print from that era. All others should steer clear. 2 stars.
Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ghosts, Jan 1 2019
Watersnakes is a modern fairy tale that is highly recommended.
An eerie fable about a ghost who carries the soul of an ancient king, and whose teeth are the king’s warriors. She kisses a living girl and vomits an octopus, who begs to be taken to the sea.
Best for fans of the surreal like Coraline. The mesmerizing story lingers like a remembered dream long after the last page is read. The dreamlike art perfectly matches the ethereal plot. 4 stars!
Thanks to Lion Forge and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: ghosts, Nov 20 2018
Southern paranormal cozy mystery with ghosts, witches and a murder or two.
Hope, Faith and Charity plan to open a Wiccan school and white witches’ potion shop in rural Sunflower County Mississippi. Sarah Booth Delaney and her partner in the Delaney Detective Agency, Tinkie Richmond, are paid to dig up some dirt on the three newcomers. The witches cast a spell to make Tinkie pregnant and Sarah Booth hook up with the hunky Sheriff Coleman. Soon, someone is killed. Was the victim scared to death by the mysterious force in the apple orchard?
Charmed Bones is #18 in the series but it reads fine as a standalone. Reading the synopsis above, the plot sounds overblown but it is totally believable while immersed in the book. I found the quirky Southern characters were the best part of Charmed Bones. By the end of the book, all seemed like genuine friends that I wanted to spend more time with. Now I just have to decide to continue the series from here or start at #1. This entry deserves 4 stars!
Thanks to Minotaur and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal, Romance Tagged with: ghosts, May 15 2018
An eerie ambience suffuses The Broken Girls. It is a mystery wrapped in a ghost story or perhaps the other way around. “Ghosts and dead babies and murdered girls. What next?”
Roberta, Katie, Cece and Sonia were all dumped at Idlewild Hall, an all-girl boarding school in 1950 Vermont. Roberta is a victim of a traumatic family event. Katie was a troublemaker. Cece was born on the wrong side of the blanket to her rich father’s maid. Sonia has nightmares about her childhood during WWII. Along with indifferent teachers, the roommates have to deal with Mary Hand, who haunts the school by bringing up each girl’s worst nightmare.
In 2014, reporter Fiona is still shell shocked by her sister’s murder on the abandoned Idlewild grounds 20 years before. When a mysterious elderly woman begins to restore the school, Fiona decided to investigate.
There are many plots running concurrently. There are the 1950 roommates, the 1994 sister, the 2014 investigation and the ghost story shown in alternating chapters. It sounds confusing but it works seamlessly together.
The Broken Girls works as a “Northern Gothic” but also as a straight mystery. It is highly recommended for fans of mysteries with paranormal twists. I did not see the end coming at all, which is great! 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Berkley, and Edelweiss for a copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal Tagged with: ghosts, Mar 20 2018
Lydie is a short tear-jerker that rewards readers with beautiful artwork and a compelling plot.
Set in a French cul-de-sac in an unnamed French town, Lydie tells the story of a set of neighbors that band together to help Camille, a mentally impaired French girl, in a very unusual way. The street is nicknamed mustachioed baby court due to a graffitied baby on a soap billboard at the end of the street. There are many points-of-view depicted in Lydie including from a statue of the Virgin Mary located on one of the buildings.
Set in 1932, life was both harsher and more neighborly than it is today. Camille loses her baby named Lydie during childbirth. A few months later, Camille believes that angels have brought back her child from heaven. First her father and then all her neighbors support Camille’s fantasy. By speaking to an invisible child who grows increasing older as the novel continues, the neighbors help Camille deal with her grief of her dead child. The end of this novel is the best part of all.
Since this graphic novel vividly depicts life in all its harshness, it is recommended only for adults. While it is ultimately a feel-good plot, it is also a true tearjerker. The artwork is very good too. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Europe Comics, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Paranormal Tagged with: ghosts, Mar 21 2018
Formulaic mystery with a small town atmosphere and a refreshing romance.
Amy Webber has run back to her aunt’s house in small town Taylorsford Virginia following a disastrous and public breakup with her boyfriend. Her job as a public library Director with only one employee, Sunny Fields, is fun but not high-paying. When a person is found murdered in the library’s archives the game is afoot for Amy and Sunny. Amy also stumbles upon an old family secret and a possible town scandal.
I enjoyed the romantic aspect of Murder for the Books much more than the three mysteries within the plot. One problem with setting mysteries in small towns is that there are not enough suspects to make the mystery difficult to solve. Plus it seemed as though the debut author, Victoria Gilbert, tried to shove too many plots into one book. There were the three mysteries, romances for three couples in town, and even a potential ghost story within this short book. Hopefully, the next entry in the Blue Ridge Library series will limit its focus by including only one romance and mystery while also using the unique rural library setting much more.
While I was underwhelmed by the mystery plots, I totally enjoyed Amy and Richard’s romance especially how the body issues were handled. Therefore, I recommend Murder for the Books more for romance readers than mystery ones. However, I will read the next book in the series, Shelved Under Murder, to see where the author leads the characters after its publication in July 10, 2018. 3 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for an advanced review copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Romance Tagged with: Dec 12 2017, ghosts, series
Beware, you may not sleep well after reading Kill Creek!
Kill Creek begins with four horror novelists agreeing to a live-streamed interview in a long abandoned haunted house in Kill Creek, Kansas. The interviews are held on Halloween night and the novelists stay overnight within the house. All the novelists have different styles from a Stephen King-type horror veteran to a R.L. Stine-type Young Adult horror novelist. To say much more about the plot would spoil it. However, the aftermath of the interview is the best part of this excellent book.
Kill Creek is definitely not for the faint-of-heart. There is a lot of violence. However, the story is very innovative. It is clear that the author has a love of all things horror. There is even a section that echoes a scene in the movie, Murder by Death. The book is both intelligent atmospheric horror and plain scary. Think of the first Saw movie. I finished reading Kill Creek at night on my Kindle with all the lights off and no one else awake in the house. I couldn’t fall asleep until dawn! However, I also just couldn’t stop reading! I love the insertion of a mystery within the horror genre. Kill Creek is highly recommended. 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Inkshares, and NetGalley for an advanced review copy.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Horror, Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal Tagged with: ghosts, oct 31