I'm a year late in reading Alice Kimberly's The Ghost and the Femme Fatale, but sometimes it's nice to have a backup. Kimberly's fifth book in the Haunted Bookshop series, The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion, is already out. So, I still have one to anticipate. Since these books just get better, I'm looking forward to the next one.
There's nothing better than a cold case mystery. It's even better when the amateur sleuth has the help of a detective who remembers the cold case, a ghost who lived that past. In 1948, Jack Shepherd, a private investigator, was tailing the New York City's DA, when he witnessed the death of a movie studio executive. The scandal destroyed actress Hedda Geist's career, when her ex-boyfriend went to prison for killing her married lover, despite the fact that she held the weapon.
Sixty years later, when the town of Quindicott, Rhode Island premieres the restored movie theater with a film noir festival, Hedda Geist is a surprise guest of honor. Bookshop owner, Penelope Thornton-McClure is handling the book sales for the festival. When a speaker falls on stage as Hedda speaks, Pen and Jack suspect it's not an accident. As the bookshop's resident ghost, Jack is more than willing to speak up, and let Penelope know his opinion. But, when one of the week's guest authors dies in the bookshop, and the police chief claims it's an accident, Jack and Penelope know they have to combine forces to find a killer. And, it might be Jack's case of sixty years earlier that is the key.
Kimberly's mysteries have a unique blend of elements that combine for stories that are a treat. The Haunted Bookshop mysteries have cold cases combined with contemporary murder, an amateur sleuth and a hardboiled detective, who happens to be a ghost, and a bookshop. The Ghost and the Femme Fatale has humor, sexual tension, and an enjoyable cast of returning characters. It's hard to go wrong with those ingredients. And, there's nothing wrong with this case that a ghost and a bookstore owner can't figure out.
Alice Kimberly is actually Clea Coyle. Her website is www.coffeehousemystery.com
The Ghost and the Femme Fatale by Alice Kimberly. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2008. ISBN 9780425218389 (paperback), 256p.