Most 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
Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series: Book 7
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
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.
CLEO 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.
May 4 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
May 4 – FUONLYKNEW – 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
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May 13 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
May 13 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT