I recently read and reviewed Be My Ghost and thought it to be a cute little palate cleanser, not a perfect book but cute enough. It was a cozy murder mystery in the vein of the Aurora Teagarden books except with a little bit of a supernatural element. In the first one, our main character Maureen inherits an inn in Haven, Florida from a complete stranger; a stranger who had a picture of her catching a fish when she was a child visiting Haven years earlier. On top of that strangeness, there are honest to goodness ghosts who don’t really seem to do anything except borrow Maureen’s clothes or strike up a tune on the piano…these ghosts need to step up their game. I was amused by the first book so I decided to see if the second book fleshed the story out a little more.
In a few words, no it did not. It’s a perfectly fine book and I’m sure I’ll read more in the series when they come out when I’m at the beach or doing something where I can’t concentrate fully. Just as in the first book, the murder that occurs in this book seems to be central to the story…but then it all falls into place in the last few pages and it’s so very, I don’t know…shrug worthy?? It didn’t seem like much of a mystery.
Other things that bothered me were the extreme attention to Maureen’s outfits. If we advanced the plot further with them, maybe it would be worth it, but no. We just get to hear about how the black sheath dress looked great on her slim thighs and she’s always smoothing her dresses against her slim thighs. If it’s not a “sheath dress from Dillard’s”, it’s a “blue patterned shirt dress from Tory Burch” from last season. The descriptions of her outfits and shoes are endless and pointless, but I have a very good picture of her clothing style…not a whole lot else.
Maureen, like all cozy mystery heroines seems perfect to the point where it would be impossible to be them. In this book Maureen donated an expensive painting to the historical society of her small town because “it deserved to be in a museum and not with her”. She has an inn that is in disrepair, normal humans would sell it…not Maureen. Maureen would say, “Oh darn, I’m sorry that man had to bleed out on our carpet and not in the comfort of a bed.” Maureen would offer a kidney over dinner in the inn’s restaurant if you asked her for one. Maureen has never used the word loins or thought about them. Maureen is just perfect and probably as dry as a bone (but not one of those “dirty bones”). It was ok in the first book, now I think I officially hate her (except for the fact that she talks to her dog, loves her dog, and lets a ghost read books to him that feature a dog as a protagonist. Bombastic side eye to the bookstore owner who offered up Old Yeller as a potential title for the dog to read. NO).
Anyways, finally after two books she finally kisses the chef in her inn that she’s liked since page 5 of book 1. The kiss is only referenced and despite it’s build up, it is about as lackluster as the murderer’s reveal. Potentially in book 7 there will be a love triangle, because it’s hinted at now…which means it’ll be a slow build, despite the fact that Maureen shows zero interest in the police officer who is definitely making time for her (she, of course, barely notices…because she’s a lady! A a business lady!).
I’m being pretty harsh when I was able to read it in a few hours; I just wish the pace would pick up, the ghosts would be more involved and have more of them in general, I wish they’d cut the perfect Maureen bit and make her three dimensional and finally, if you’re going to have a murder, make it interesting and understandable.