Monday, May 1, 2023

The Ghost Goes to the Dogs - Haunted Bookshop Mystery #9



The Ghost Goes to the Dogs is the 9th Haunted Bookshop cozy/noir mystery by the pseudonymous duo writing as Cleo Coyle. Released 4th May 2021 by Penguin Random House on their Berkley imprint, it's 320 pages and is available in mass market paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is a well developed series with an interesting paranormal twist. Protagonist Penelope is in "contact" with the consciousness of a long departed police detective who was killed 70 years ago. The books are set up in a way that very very cold case mysteries from decades ago get intertwined with modern day mysteries and bookstore owner Penelope saves the day by resolving the past and the present. This installment sees Pen & Jack trying to sort out the possibly-not-accidental shooting of a local widow who is also involved with local pet rescue scene.

The mysteries are often convoluted and a bit contrived but otherwise "fair-play". The characters are so distinct and well rendered that keeping them clear from one another is never an issue. I like the sort of noir-1940's vibe that Penelope's internal dialogue (and her ghostly "Watson" Jack) add to the book.  Although it's the 9th book in the series, the mysteries are completely self-contained and work quite well as a standalone. This would be a good jumping-in point for readers who haven't read the previous books.

The language is clean, the violence is low-key and off scene. It would make a good commute or work read. I really enjoyed the tie-ins with period 1940s culture. Lots of fun. The authors have done their research on the era. With 9 books in the series, it would also make a good candidate for a long binge/buddy/readathon read.

Four stars. Definitely worth a look for fans of cozy mysteries like those from Laura Childs and Kate Carlisle (but also with the paranormal twist).

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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