Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure has just received a rare collection of Edgar Allan Poe's works. Rumor has it a secret code, trapped within ...Show synopsisBookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure has just received a rare collection of Edgar Allan Poe's works. Rumor has it a secret code, trapped within the pages, leads to buried treasure. But it seems everyone who buys a volume dies. Now Pen needs resident ghost P.I. Jack Shepard to help crack the case. Original.Hide synopsis
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A young widow, Penelope McClure, who is a partner in a rare bookstore is given a unique 13 volume set of the works of Edgar Allan Poe to sell. Within minutes of picking up the set of books, the owner dies in a fall down his stairs. The trouble is that the man was very elderly, had trouble with stairs and lived only on the first floor of his home. It looks like murder to Penelope.
It just so happens that Penelope is haunted by the benevolent ghost of Jack Shepard, a private investigator who died violently in the bookstore half a century ago. Jack the Ghost cares very much about Penelope, looks out for her and gives her advice. This is a good thing, because Penelope can use all of the help she can get. Someone wants the Poe collection so badly that he is willing to kill to get it. First Penelope is attacked, then one of Penelope's friends, and then one of Penelope's customers is killed.
This book is half Ghost and Mrs. Muir and half Da Vinci Code. A group of Poe scholars work together to help Penelope crack "the Poe Code" in order to find a hidden treasure. Unbeknownst to everyone but Penelope, Penelope is getting supernatural assistance to solve parallel mysteries of two oval portraits.
This book is pure fun to read. The relationship between the ghost and Penelope is a little too sexually charged for my tastes and sometimes Penelope doesn't behave as maturely as I'd expect from a single mother raising a 10 year-old. But the book is undeniably interesting and has a lot of allusions to Poe and to the great detective novels of Raymond Chandler.
This book is one of a series of Haunted Book Shop Mysteries by Alice Kimberly (the pen name of a husband and wife team of authors). They also write a series of Coffee Shop Mystery books. I'm looking forward to perusing more of their mystery stories.
The female-sleuth of this series is Penelope Thornton-McClure and she lives in the small town of Quindicott, Rhode Island. She is a widowed mom of a 10-year old boy named Spencer. With her aunt Sadie, she runs a bookstore in downtown Quindicott called "Buy the Book".
The interesting thing about "Buy the Book" is that it has a resident ghost in street-smart private investigator Jack Shepard. Jack was murdered in the bookstore many years ago and has never left - that is, his spirit has never left. And only Penelope can 'hear' him. At first she thinks she is going crazy but eventually she learns to accept his presence. In fact he has helped her solve a couple of murders.
"It was a dark and stormy night. No, really." This statement appears in Chapter 1 of this book, which is the third in the series. Penelope and Aunt Sadie are on their way to visit an old beau of Sadie's, Peter Chesley. Peter lives in the old Chesley family mansion that Penelope describes as being creepy! This mystery revolves around some rare and valuable old Edgar Allan Poe books he gives them to sell. With the help of her ghost Jack, Penelope solves the mystery.
I'm pretty fascinated by the idea Ms. Kimberly came up with for this series and I'm really looking forward to reading more of her books.
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