Title: The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library (Haunted Bookshop, #3)
Author: Alice Kimberly
Publication Date: September, 2006
Paperback: 254 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Description: Sleuth, Nevermore…?
Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton McClure has just received an extremely rare collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete works. Rumor has it a secret code, trapped within the books’ leather-bound pages, leads to buried treasure. Well, it looks like they got the buried part right, because as Pen sells off the valuable volumes, everyone who buys…dies.
Once these books go missing from their owners’ cold hands, Pen will need resident ghost and hard-boiled PI Jack Shepard to help crack the case. The police are skeptical that the deaths involved foul play --- so it’s up to Pen and Jack to unravel these shocking endings…
My Thoughts: I’m really enjoying this series. In this installment, Penelope and her Aunt Sadie travel to Newport to acquire a collection of published works by Edgar Allan Poe from a man Sadie used to be romantically involved with. One of the things I enjoyed about this book is the story doesn’t drag and meander. It gets right to the meat and potatoes of the story when just mere minutes after leaving Newport with the books, the previous owner dies under mysterious circumstances. Then before I had time to process that, Penelope sells one of the volumes for $8,000 and the new owner is found dead. Penelope gets arrested and charged with theft, Spencer is being bullied at school, and we learn a little more about Jack and one of the cases he was working on. These side plots keep the story from becoming stagnant and hold my interest in the book.
I also like that, through her dreams, Penelope is able to go with Jack to his time and observe and even participate in what he’s doing. This seems to be the only way she can actually see him. In her time, she can only hear him, but carrying Jack’s buffalo nickel on her person, he can travel outside the store with her. I just wish she could see him in the present and that Sadie and Spencer could too. Jack’s vocabulary is very entertaining as well.
“Pops is laying track, baby. He’s taking you for a rube.”
“Make like the proverbial shepherd, sweetheart, and get the flock out.”
“All that yammering is giving me a headache where I don’t have one --- a head, that is…”
“That scam was old when I was in knee pants.”
I’m hoping that Penelope will learn more about Jack; maybe find his descendants or learn the truth about his murder. In the meantime, Jack’s presence in Penelope’s head brings her confidence and, at times, comfort.
Overall, The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library is a good installment of the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series. It enlightened me to some unknown facts about Edgar Allan Poe and entertained me with Jack’s gruff personality and quips.
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