The cover of Sue Ann Jaffarian’s second Granny Apples mystery, Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini, is deceiving. Yes, there is a ghost in a bikini. No, this isn’t a light, frivolous story. It’s a serious examination of a cold case, the death of a movie starlet forty years earlier. It just so happens that the investigator sees ghosts, including that of the dead woman.
Emma Whitecastle has a TV show about paranormal theories and activities. She might have been cast because of her marriage and divorce to another TV talk show, the son of one of Hollywood’s powerful families. But, Emma has not revealed to anyone connected to the show that she herself sees ghosts.
A few people know that, including Phil Bowers, who accompanied Emma to Catalina over Thanksgiving. It’s there that Emma sees a young woman frolicking in the water, the ghost of Tessa North. Granny Apples, the ghost of Emma’s great-great-great grandmother, insists that Tessa needs help passing over. Tessa insists she won’t go because she’s waiting for someone. And, Emma’s research indicates she’s been waiting for over forty years, since the week of Robert Kennedy’s assassination.
Tessa’s story is one that will truly haunt Emma. Her research connects back to the past, to Emma’s former father-in-law and his powerful cronies in the film community. The 1960s were a time of partying and pretty women for the in crowd. As Emma and a few friends dig into Tessa’s past, someone seems determined to hide the truth. Emma is not only followed, but her SUV is spraypainted, and she and her ex have a fight that is broadcast on national TV. But, Emma won’t give up, even when someone she questioned is murdered.
Fans of cold case mysteries and paranormal mysteries might want to pick up Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini. Yes, there is some humor, particularly when Emma and Granny Apples interact. But, murder is not a laughing matter, and Emma Whitecastle, and Sue Ann Jaffarian, treat the subject with respect in this book. Jaffarian manages to highlight the ‘60s, while acknowledging there are consequences to actions. And, those consequences last for years, even haunting ghosts.
Sue Ann Jaffarian’s website is www.sueannjaffarian.com
Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini by Sue Ann Jaffarian. Midnight Ink. ©2011. ISBN 9780738713823 (paperback), 300p.