GUEST BLOG: Meet Cleo Coyle’s Haunted Bookseller from THE GHOST AND THE HAUNTED PORTRAIT Plus Giveaway!

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait BannerMost people are haunted by something. Past mistakes. Missed opportunities. I’m haunted by those things, and one more—an actual ghost.

My name is Penelope Thornton-McClure. For decades, the locals here in Quindicott, Rhode Island, believed our shop was haunted. I never did. Then one dark night, I met him. Now Jack Shepard speaks to me at will (his will, not mine) gusting in and out of my head with wise cracks and frank opinions.

Despite our ongoing arguments, the dead detective has brought some interesting perspective to my life. He’s also pushed me to assist him in a few criminal investigations (past and present) while showing me the ropes of the “PI game.” Our relationship has been an education for me, and a boredom killer for Jack, who wasn’t exactly cut out for his small-town afterlife.

Take this morning. After getting my son, Spencer, off to school, I headed downstairs to our bookshop, where I found my aunt Sadie fretting over a mix-up.

“We mistakenly scheduled two reading groups to meet in the community events space tonight,” she informed me. “The Cozying Up to a Cozy club and the Tough Guy PI pals. The last time they shared a room, the cozy readers chided the hard-boiled group for bad language and passing around a flask of whiskey. Ugly words were exchanged.”

“Don’t worry,” I assured her, “I’ll sort it out later with a few phone calls.”

Before I even started dialing, Jack had something to say—only to me, of course. For whatever cosmic reason, Jack’s voice was like a radio wave with my head perpetually set on his private frequency.

You ask me, Jack announced, this joint should provide hard liquor to all its customers. A few shots of hooch will make those boring book talks a lot more interesting.

“Oh, please,” I replied, “we’re not a tavern.”

Don’t I know it. Come on, Penny, at least let the tea sippers duke it out with the hard drinkers. Nothing like a good boxing match. Care to make a wager?

“Really, Jack, what you propose would hardly be a fair fight.”

You may be right. Those cozy ladies got knitting needles, and they know how to use them.

As the day progressed, I restocked shelves, arranged displays, and helped customers find new favorites. By evening, things should have been quiet. Instead, after dinner with my son, I headed back to the bookshop and heard raucous voices (and laughter?) coming out of our community events space. That’s when I realized—

“The cozy and hard-boiled groups are in there together!” I apologized to my aunt. “I forgot to make those calls.”

“Relax,” Sadie said. “A touch of liquid refreshment solved everyone’s problems.”

“The PI group brought more whiskey?”

“No.” Sadie winked. “One of the cozy ladies makes her own elderberry wine.”

Jack’s laughter resounded through my head. I told you, sweetheart. Nothing like a little hooch to smooth ruffled feathers.

As I headed up to bed, Jack suggested I continue looking into a suspicious death we witnessed recently in Blackstone Falls—

Unless that local sheriff scared you off the case, Jack taunted.

“Not much scares me anymore,” I told him. “After all, I live with a ghost.”


Don’t miss the latest title in Cleo Coyle’s bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mystery series, The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait. This is the seventh book in the series, but you can jump right in. Cleo writes every mystery as a stand-alone work so that new readers will not be lost. And if you enjoy her latest title, you have six more to explore. Here they are in order…

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure
The Ghost and the Dead Deb
The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library
The Ghost and the Femme Fatale
The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion
The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller
The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait

About The Book

Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series: Book 7
Publication Date: May 4, 2021


The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure and her gumshoe ghost team up to solve the stunning mystery at the heart of a madwoman’s self-portrait in this all new installment from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

While gathering a collection of vintage book cover paintings for a special event in her quaint Rhode Island bookshop, Penelope discovers a spooky portrait of a beautiful woman, one who supposedly went mad, according to town gossip. Seymour, the local mailman, falls in love with the haunting image and buys the picture, refusing to part with it, even as fatal accidents befall those around it. Is the canvas cursed? Or is something more sinister at work?

For answers, Pen turns to an otherworldly source: Jack Shepard, PI. Back in the 1940s, Jack cracked a case of a killer cover artist, and (to Pen’s relief) his spirit is willing to help her solve this mystery, even if he and his license did expire decades ago.

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About The AuthorCleo Coyle - Alice Alfonsi - Marc CerasiniCLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries—now celebrating eighteen years in print. They are also authors of the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, previously written under the pseudonym Alice Kimberly. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also both bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together.


Blog Tour Schedule

May 4 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT


May 5 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW

May 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

May 5 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

May 6 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

May 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 6 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

May 7 – Books to the Ceiling – REVIEW

May 7 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

May 7 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

May 8 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

May 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

May 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 9 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

May 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

May 10 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

May 11 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT

May 11 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

May 12 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 13 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

May 13 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

May 13 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

Dayna Linton
Dayna is the owner of not only Novels Alive but of Day Agency, a full-service self-publishing agency for independent authors. She has been assisting independent authors to achieve their dreams of becoming published authors for over 15 years. From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors to the first-time author to every author in between. Dayna is a self-professed bibliophile. While dancing has always been her first love, reading came as a very, very close second, with gardening coming in as a close third. Dayna is also the divorced mom of four adult children and a very proud grandma. She is also a web designer, social media specialist, book blogger, and reviewer. She's a long-time Disney lover and a Utah Jazz, Utah Utes, and Dallas Cowboys fan. See Dayna's reviews here: Dayna's Reviews


  1. Thank you, Dayna, for so graciously hosting our beloved haunted bookseller’s guest blog. Pen and her ghost Jack are back to sleuthing again, and we couldn’t be happier with the warm welcome everyone is giving them. Cheers!

    ~ Cleo


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