Series: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #3
Genres: Paranormal Mystery
Published by Berkley on 7 February 2012
Reading Challenges: 2013 Zodiac Challenge
Alison Kerby is once again drawn away from her guesthouse duties to investigate mysteries for her resident ghosts. The remains of Maxie’s ex-husband Big Bob have been discovered and it looks like murder. Paul on the other hand wants Alison to track down the woman he was going to propose. If that wasn’t enough, Alison’s cheating ex-husband is back in town and he wants to reconcile.
Just like the other books in this series, I found myself drawn more to the ghost Paul and his past life than anyone else. Perhaps it is because unlike the living characters, Paul lacks the ability to correct past wrongs, have real relationships and has to rely on Alison to investigate things. The other ghost Maxie is even more immature than usual and it grated.
I seriously wouldn’t want to have to rely on Alison for anything. She has a private investigator licence so she ought to know the basics of investigating but all she does it demand a cop hand over information and ask other people for advice. Alison isn’t really that motivated to investigate the murder and so it was difficult for me to muster up much enthusiasm either. I couldn’t understand why she kept rejecting Paul’s help in order to find his lover either.
The baddie was fairly obvious and it was frustrating to be literally chapters ahead of Alison’s investigation. The clues were repeated so many times I felt like hitting Alison over the head with a wrench myself. A little more subtlety would be awesome. I also found the complications in Alison’s love life unsatisfying – her ex acted as a device to show her independence rather than contributing to the plot. Sparks didn’t fly on her date with her client either and that sort of fizzled out.
I would really love for Alison to commit to the investigation business and help out willingly. If she put the same drive into investigating that she apparently does with her guesthouse then she wouldn’t be floundering around for so long. It would also help her relationship with the two ghosts. Paul achieved some measure of peace in this novel and I hope that Maxie develops into a more rounded character in the future. I wanted to like this novel but there were too many things that detracted from the overall experience.