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

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When the department store where she works in Boston closes, Maureen Doherty is at a loss as to what to do next. Then, she receives a letter informing her that she's inherited a quaint inn in a small town in Florida. In spite of the fact that she has no idea why this windfall has come her way, nor does she know the first thing about running an inn, Maureen decides she is up for an adventure, if only to check out the lay of the land.

So she packs up a few belongings and her dog Finn and heads south. But before she can even get settled into her new lodgings, Maureen discovers a corpse on the inn’s front porch and quickly becomes the main suspect in a murder investigation.

Plus, though Maureen firmly states she does not believe in ghosts, she keeps seeing them, she continually has run-ins with the inn's manager, and Finn has to cope with two resident cats. All in all, Maureen's new life is not off to an auspicious start, but with the help of some older, long-term residents of the inn and a few ghosts - in whom Maureen eventually has to admit she does believe - she solves the murder, clears her name, makes friends, and even senses a potential for romance.

BE MY GHOST is the first in a new series for Perry, and the residents of Haven, Florida —living and ghostly — are an interesting cast of characters poised to give cozy fans plenty to look forward to, while Maureen herself has enough depth to easily serve as a character who will be fun to follow. The ghosts add a nice twist and let Perry bring in references to an exciting past, while the underlying question of why Maureen inherited Haven House and her developing relationships and possible romance offer enough of an ongoing plot to pull the series forward.

Frankly, the ghosts and the characters, rather than the murder, are the main attractions here: there is a murder, and it does get solved, but it tends to seem a bit incidental to the main storyline. That’s not much of a detraction. Perry's ability to create a world filled with people and events you want to spend time with is plenty of reason to stick with the series, and some mostly off-stage crime solving that lets Maureen prove her resourcefulness and gives her reason to interact with the ghosts adds just the right bit of spice.

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

Reviewed by Meredith Frazier, September 2021

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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