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by Hope McIntyre
Mysterious Press, October 2005
400 pages
ISBN: 0892960132

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Lee Bartholomew lives in the wealthy London area of Notting Hill. A ghost-writer by profession, Lee finds herself spending more and more time irrationally worrying about crime and her own murder. This is not helped when a woman in her street is burnt to death in an apparent arson attack.

When Lee is commissioned to ghost-write a biography of a soap star, she finds herself in the arms of a new and dangerous lover and soon realises that her worries about dying may not be so irrational after all.

HOW TO SEDUCE A GHOST is a novel that deserves to be picked up and read simply for its innovative title. It caught my attention and piqued my curiosity without even having to read the synopsis. The use of the word ghost is also interesting, since it can be read on various levels as the story progresses.

The plot works well, even if it becomes slightly difficult to identify with Lee. Since some of her behaviour is distinctly odd, or even downright bizarre, I found it hard to follow some of her motives and empathise with her. Her refusal, for example, to allow workmen into the house in case they disturbed her, simply became irritating after a time.

Nevertheless, it could be argued that this makes her more human, and it does certainly make a change to have a flawed protagonist, as opposed to the traditionally perfect one.

HOW TO SEDUCE A GHOST is a very enjoyable first murder mystery novel and deserves even more acclaim when you consider that the author went to school for only three years. Hope McIntyre has got a distinct voice, and she brings her characters to life well. Her American soap star, Selma, also feels real and is no doubt a product of the time that McIntyre has spent living on the other side of the Atlantic. I look forward to reading McIntyre's next work, to be set on Long Island.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, November 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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