For some reason, I'm attracted to paranormal cozy mysteries. Maybe it's the link to the past, because I love cold cases. Maybe it's the acceptance of ghosts in our lives. Sue Ann Jaffarian's Ghost of Granny Apples mysteries are satisfying and enjoyable with a mature woman, a medium and TV host, as the amateur sleuth. Ghost of a Gamble takes Emma Whitecastle from her home in California to a setting that is always perfect for crime fiction, Las Vegas.
On a request from Milo Ravenscroft, her mentor, Emma and the ghost of her great-great-great-grandmother, Granny Apples, head to Las Vegas for a visit with Milo's mother, Dolly. Milo's skills are blocked when it comes to his mother. She seems to be haunted by the ghost of a small-time Las Vegas hood named Lenny. But, when Emma is able to communicate with him, she discovers Lenny is worried about Dolly, convinced that "Nemo's boys" are threatening her. Before Emma has time to check into "Nemo's boys", Dolly disappears. While Milo and Emma are worried about her, the Vegas police want to know why Dolly was visiting an elderly man at a retirement home, a man nicknamed "Nemo" who is now dead.
With the police looking for Dolly as a suspect, it's up to Emma to put together a team to look into the past, and connect it with Dolly's disappearance. With Granny Apples as a go-between, Emma finds a story right out of the romanticized history of Las Vegas; showgirls, mobsters, casinos, robbery, and murder. Now, it's up to Emma and her friends to prevent another death; Dolly's.
Ghost of a Gamble is the fourth in the Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series, but if you haven't read the earlier ones, that's fine. Sue Ann Jaffarian neatly summarizes Emma's past, her family connection to ghosts, including Granny Apples, and the connections that brought her to where she is today. And, with a story set in Las Vegas that takes everyone out of the California setting, it's a perfect way to discover the series. It's a series that successfully combines ghosts, the past, and amateur sleuths. It's worth taking a gamble on the series, beginning with Ghost of a Gamble.
Sue Ann Jaffarian's website is www.sueannjaffarian.com
Ghost of a Gamble by Sue Ann Jaffarian. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425262177 (paperback), 296p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I requested the book to review for another site.