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by Tonya Koppes
Witness, September 2015
345 pages
ISBN: 0062374931

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Fourth in the Ghostly Southern Mystery series by Tonya Kappes, A GHOSTLY MURDER proves that Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, is as dangerous a place to live as Cabot Cove, Maine was. Small town it may be, but the ghosts may outnumber the living if this series continues much longer--and if Emma Lee Raines doesn't solve the latest rash of crimes.

At the end of the previous book, A GHOSTLY DEMISE, Emma Lee is burying one "client" when Mamie Sue Preston's ghost appears on a nearby headstone. Emma Lee knows this means murder, and it's her job as a Betweener to help solve the mystery and get Mamie Sue to the other side. Mamie Sue isn't worried about that at the moment, though. She's a lot more concerned about finding her teeth. And then there's the mystery of the disappearing apple pie and the collection plate from the church, both of which show up at the inn owned by Emma Lee's granny, causing the handsome Sheriff Jack Henry Ross to suspect both Granny and Emma Lee of wrongdoing. Then, before she knows it, Emma Lee has another ghost client and a potential one in the making, and she knows she needs to hurry to catch what seems to be a serial killer, in spite of the fact that she also needs to navigate some tricky relationship issues with Jack Henry and save the flailing funeral-home business she and her sister own.

As with the previous books in the series, A GHOSTLY MURDER moves along at a fast, easy clip, not bothering much with character development or intricate plotting, and spreading the Southern stereotypes on thick. In the end, though, Kappes pulls off a fun romp through some small-town craziness and comes up with a few surprises that are nicely played. She also uses a slightly lighter touch with some of the stereotyping and craziness, which makes this book a little less outlandish than the previous ones--but not to worry: it's still got all the wacky humor and unlikely situations fans of the series expect. Those fans will also be happy to know that Kappes leaves a few living citizens and a couple of plot twists that give her followers hope for future installments.

Meredith Frazier, a writer with a background in English literature, lives in Dallas, Texas

Reviewed by Meredith Frazier, October 2015

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