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by Carol J. Perry
Kensington Books, August 2021
280 pages
ISBN: 1496731352

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Itís October in Boston and Maureen Doherty, in time-honored tradition, is out of a job, canít afford her apartment, and has a friendly yet easily distracted Golden Retriever named Finn. Also in time-honored tradition, her salvation comes via an unexpected inheritance. Iím pretty sure this plot device has only been used o few hundred times since I started reading fiction, all these many years ago.

Maureen got a nice envelope from her former boss as she was packing up her office, so she actually has some money to get her and all her stuff to Haven, Florida where she accepts the inheritance of Haven House Inn, left to her by an elderly woman whom she has no recollection of ever meeting. Haven House is a lovely place, in need of some relatively minor repairs and upkeep.

Some of the business practices need a bit more work. A few of the guests are permanent residents and most perform some kind of service in lieu of or in addition to their nominal rent. The former owner, Ms. Penelope Josephine Gray, was active in the community and known for her generosity. This generosity apparently extended to not raising room rates/rent in practically forever.

Maureen is astute enough to realize the situation canít go on as it has. As she is becoming acclimated, one of the guests dies on her porch and Maureen becomes a suspect. Yes, it's 'new girl in town.'

Meanwhile, Conrad Wilson is researching a book on ghosts. The police donít believe he was poisoned by a ghost, of course. Maureen didnít believe in ghosts when she left Boston. Meeting Lorna DuBois, a transparent young woman who died in 1975, makes her question her disbelief. The fact that Lorna looks better in Maureenís designer duds than Maureen does may have something to do with this. Lorna fills Maureen in on many, although not all, of the secrets of Haven House, including who still returns to the Inn in spectral form. Some of the regulars want to help Maureen in figuring out who killed Conrad.

BE MY GHOST is the first in a new series for Carol J. Perry; she has written eleven Witch City mysteries. So we know up front that sheís not a newbie to the genre. We also know this because her plotting is good, even when she starts out mired in tradition. In the process of detecting a current killer, Maureen also solves the mystery of Room 227, so Perry can sling a sub-plot as well. Her characters are people we are liable to encounter in our own lives. Well, the non-spectral ones, anyway.

I am truly hooping that Ms. Perry writes more in the Haunted Haven series. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a sibling named Carol A. Perry. No relation to the author of which I am aware, and yet the reason I wanted to read this book. I'm glad that I did.

ß PJ Coldren has been reading and reviewing mystery fiction for over a quarter of a century and reads broadly within just about all genres and sub-genres. She lives in Northern lower Michigan with her spousal unit, one large cat, and two fairly small dogs.

Reviewed by PJ Coldren, July 2021

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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