Saturday, May 6, 2017

GHOSTAL LIVING by Kathleen Bridge

Publisher:   Berkley
Published:  May 2, 2017
ISBN:        978-0425276600
Genre:       Cozy Mystery
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina



Interior designer Meg Barrett’s business has taken off and she’s scored a major coup by doing the interior of the Bibliophile B & B.  The inn’s unique concept of a different room dedicated and designed to the era of certain authors has made this perhaps one of the most enjoyable projects Meg has undertaken. The inn’s opening is timed to occur in conjunction with Sag Harbor’s annual book and antiquarian fair. Even more exciting, Franklin Hollingsworth has in his possession a recently discovered original manuscript by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The manuscript has attracted interest from a diverse group of people. Unfortunately, along with a collection of book aficionados, the manuscript has attracted a killer. Once again Meg finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. 

I was attracted by Kathleen Bridge’s Hamptons Home & Garden mysteries series mainly because it takes place not only near where I grew up, but in some of the towns we went to on vacation or day trips.  Bridge does a fabulous job of describing Sag Harbor, Montauk and the surrounding towns—especially during the summer traffic crush. Her creation of the Bibiliophile B&B is sheer genius and I sure wish it existed for real. Imagine spending a few days surrounded by first editions…signed first editions of some of the world’s greatest literature!  The mystery of the stolen manuscript in GHOSTAL LIVING had some nice twists to it.  Very clever at the outcome.

When I read and reviewed her first book, BETTER HOMES AND CORPSES, I mentioned that it was disappointing that more wasn’t made of Meg having a hearing impairment. She is a unique amateur detective with the hearing impairment and her lip reading could add some nice depth to the character and how she solves her crimes. I was glad to see Bridge having Meg use that skill in GHOSTAL LIVING.
While I did enjoy the descriptions of the various venues in the book – the towns, the rooms at the inn, etc., it seemed to take a long time for Meg to actually start looking for the killer.  At one point I thought I was reading a travelogue instead of a mystery.

She does have, as is the pattern cozies seem to be falling into, a love triangle.  I’m not the only reader who finds them annoying, especially when they drag on through several books. If I want to read a romance, I’ll pick one up.  I don’t mind the sleuth having a love interest, but I want the focus on the detective’s smarts, cunning and creativity, not trying to figure out which guys she wants to be with. While Bridge does have the triangle aspect, she does a nice job of including it and then dispensing with it. In fact, it’s more of a background issue than actually part of the story so you don’t see much of it at all.

A nice addition to a fun series.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.



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