Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini by Sue Ann Jaffarian

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

Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini by Sue Ann Jaffarian. Midnight Ink. ©2011. ISBN 9780738713823 (paperback), 300p.


Kay said...

I really enjoyed the first Granny Apples mystery. This one looks good too. Thanks for the heads-up and ghosts during October seem just right. LOL

Lesa said...

You're right, Kay. And, this time, I never even thought about ghosts. I was just going through shelves to pick my next book, and that one jumped out at me.

Liz V. said...

I've seen Sue Ann's name but haven't read anything yet. Another TBR, it seems. Thanks.

Karen C said...

I'm with Liz V - sounds like one for the TBR!!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Thanks for the great review, Lesa! I agree, while I love the cover, it does convey that the book could be fluffy. Folks, the 3rd Granny Apples mystery, Gem of a Ghost, will be out February 2012.

Lesa said...

And, I heard good things about Gem of a Ghost, Sue Ann. You're welcome. Looking forward to the next one!

bookdout said...

Oh I have the first two of Jaffarian's Odelia mystery series which I have been desperate to read. I didn't know about this series but it's going on my wishlist now. Thanks for sharing your review!

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out