Ghost at Work (Bailey Ruth Raeburn Series #1)
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Ghost at Work (Bailey Ruth Raeburn Series #1)

4.0 61
by Carolyn G. Hart

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Bailey Ruth Raeburn has always been great at solving mysteries. Why should a little thing like her death change anything? In fact, being dead gives her more of an opportunity to be on top of events. Bailey Ruth is delighted that her unique position as a ghost makes it possible for her to lend a helping hand, sometimes seen and sometimes not. And if anybody needs a…  See more details below


Bailey Ruth Raeburn has always been great at solving mysteries. Why should a little thing like her death change anything? In fact, being dead gives her more of an opportunity to be on top of events. Bailey Ruth is delighted that her unique position as a ghost makes it possible for her to lend a helping hand, sometimes seen and sometimes not. And if anybody needs a little help, it's Kathleen, the pastor's wife. There's a dead man on her porch, and once the body is discovered, the pastor is sure to become a suspect. \ \

Uncharitable people might call it meddling, but Bailey Ruth knows Kathleen needs her help! As a member of Heaven's Department of Good Intentions, Bailey Ruth goes back to earth to extricate Kathleen from a dire situation. If Bailey Ruth has to bend a few rules to help Kathleen save her family, Wiggins, her fussbudget supervisor, will make sure it all turns out right in the end. \

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A ghost turns sleuth in the intriguing first of a new series from Hart (Death on Demand), who's won Agatha, Anthony and Macavity awards. When Bailey Ruth Raeburn and her husband die on their cabin cruiser during a storm, Bailey joins the heavenly host. Later, she returns to earth via the Rescue Express to her hometown of Adelaide, Okla., to help the rector's wife, Kathleen Abbott. After finding the body of a dead man on her back porch, Kathleen fears either she or her husband might be accused of the crime. Bailey Ruth helps her to move the body, inaugurating a search for the killer that proves difficult as the victim was despised by many. As Bailey Ruth uncovers more than one crime, she must contend with her own violations of the Precepts for Earthly Visitation and adjust to her powers on earth. Hart blends an enjoyable fantasy with realistic characters and an engrossing plot that's sure to charm even ardent materialists. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.\
Library Journal

What a tangled web Hart weaves for Bailey Ruth, an emissary from Heaven on a mission to help people in trouble. The body of a man is found at the rectory in Adelaide, OK. The pastor is a suspect, and his wife is Bailey Ruth's great niece. Hart, the prolific, award-winning author of the popular "Death on Demand" and Henrie O. series, launches a new paranormal cozy series. Her ghostly heroine glides through walls yet also eats solid food and solves problems for living folks. Sure to appeal to readers who enjoy gentle mysteries in the style of Elizabeth Fackler and Nancy Atherton. Here it is all too cute for words. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ7/08.]

—Jo Ann Vicarel\
Kirkus Reviews
A heaven-sent sleuth rescues a pastor's wife from a possible murder charge. Late, inquisitive redhead Bailey Ruth Raeburn may be in heaven, but she jumps at the chance to revisit earth as a helper in the Department of Good Intentions. Although she thinks Paris would be a nice place to go, she's sent to her old hometown of Adelaide, Okla., where Kathleen Abbott, the overworked pastor's harried wife, has just made an unwelcome discovery on her back porch: the body of the much disliked Daryl Murdoch, a man not above a little judicious blackmail. Bailey Ruth and Kathleen temporize by hiding the body in the nearby cemetery, but it will take a good deal of snooping and breaking departmental rules before Bailey Ruth can solve the crime. Being invisible, of course, is a big help for a sleuth who can sit in on private conversations and move from place to place in a twinkling. Because Kathleen's daughter Bayroo, who was named for Bailey Ruth, is the only one who can see her, a lot of people end up unbelievingly watching objects float in the air or disappear. The list of suspects is long-even the pastor is not above suspicion-but Bailey Ruth's special gifts give her the edge over the hardworking police chief, who's in for a big surprise. The newest sleuth from veteran Hart (Death Walked In, 2008, etc.) is a charming addition to the swelling ranks of ghostly detectives.\
Oklahoma City Oklahoman
Bailey Ruth is a lively, original heroine and a pleasure to read. Hart gets to design heaven and indulges herself in celestial fantasies. The Oklahoma City author is a master at constructing a mystery. She builds this one with finesse, suspense and humor.
Deseret News
absolutely’s that rarest of books, filled with characters who have character, both fanciful moments and genuine surprises. And there are pieces to the puzzle that are sure to catch you off guard.
Boston Globe
Hart’s version of heaven is a hoot...Bailey Ruth and Wiggins will delight readers who prefer their mysteries light and seasoned with wit and the supernatural.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Bailey Ruth Raeburn Series, #1
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Ghost at Work

Chapter One

Incandescent dashes of pink and gold spangled the fluffy white clouds that arched over the entrance to the Department of Good Intentions. The opening was wide and welcoming. Heaven doesn't run to doors. No one is shut in. Or shut out.

If I entered, I was committing myself to an unknown adventure. Possibly. Or possibly not. Perhaps I wouldn't be considered a worthy candidate. My natural effervescence immediately bubbled, banishing that negative thought. Of course I was a worthy candidate. I love to go and do and hold out a helping hand. I was a superb candidate.

I hurried forward even though I didn't know what to expect. Unctuous solemnity? Goody Two-shoes stuffiness? Earnest exhortations? That hadn't been my experience of Heaven. Surely the Department of Good Intentions was filled with kindred spirits eager to offer a boost up to those in need.

A wash of golden light spilled out, beckoning, encouraging, welcoming. I was drawn by the warmth, yet wary of the unknown. I had felt the same conflict of anticipation and reluctance when I was a kid at the swimming hole a few miles outside of Adelaide. I remembered the dammed-up pool with shivery delight, the water deep and cold, shaded by majestic oaks. We clambered up the rope ladder to the top of a huge red rock, teetered on the sloping surface, scared yet eager, and took a flying leap. That plunge through air was as near to weightlessness as I ever knew. Until now, of course. The first jump was always the hardest. The shock of the icy water took your breath, turned your skin cold as ice. The thrill was worth the scare.

Could I, Bailey Ruth Raeburn, late ofAdelaide, Oklahoma, take the plunge now? Certainly, if I ever, within an eon or two, intended to offer my services, it was time and time past. Time and age do not exist in Heaven, but I had the sense that Bobby Mac and I had been here quite awhile. Our cabin cruiser went down in a sudden August storm in the Gulf of Mexico. I expected much had changed since we departed the earth. If I hoped to be helpful, possibly I should volunteer while I still had some memory of earthly ways.

Our arrival here had been precipitous, but, as Scripture warns, the householder knows not the appointed hour. Dark clouds had scudded toward us. Blinding rain pelted our struggling boat. Thunder crashed, lightning blazed. Serendipity, our small but sturdy cabin cruiser, capsized beneath a thirty-foot wave. I'd chosen our cruiser's name. I always felt that I was in the right place at the right time, even then. Now, that's a funny thing. I'd come close to being lost at sea when I was seven. I'd been visiting my California cousins and we'd taken the excursion boat to Catalina. Ever a daredevil, I'd scooted behind a lifeboat and hung over the edge. I lost my balance and tumbled overboard. Happily for me, a brawny seaman saw me fall and raced to the railing and climbed to the top to jump after me. I'd flailed to the surface, choked and stunned. The excursion boat faded in the distance. Happily, perhaps fatefully, the sailor kept me afloat, and not long after a sailboat ran near enough to find us. I doubt I would have survived on my own.

Maybe it was full circle that Bobby Mac and I were lost at sea. Of course, our daughter, Dil, was furious with her dad and even more furious with me for tagging along. There had been warnings of a coming storm, but Bobby Mac had lost a big tarpon the day before and he was determined to go after him again. That man was what they call a fishing fool. Still is, and he's thrilled that the tarpon have never been bigger than here in Heaven. Dear Bobby Mac, built like a bull rider with coal-black hair, flashing dark eyes, and a rollicking grin. I smiled, grateful for love that had spanned our years together and flourished still. We two were as youthful in Heaven as on the day we'd met at Adelaide's famous rodeo, Bobby Mac dust-streaked and swaggering after his event, but blessed as well in Heaven with the glorious depth of all we'd known and shared together, happiness, passion, sorrow, tears, and, always, laughter.

From my watery adventure off the coast of California to the Serendipity's demise in the Gulf of Mexico, I was convinced I'd led a charmed life, thanks to the brave sailor on the excursion boat. Now I wanted to do my bit for someone in trouble. As I understood it, the Department of Good Intentions specialized in lending a hand to those in tight spots.

I strode under the arch of clouds, as much as an ethereal figure who isn't terribly tall can stride. I'm not small, but then again I'm not large. Five foot five on a good day in slingback pumps. I glimpsed my reflection in a shining crystal wall, curly red hair, a skinny face with curious green eyes, lots of freckles. I remembered a Polaroid picture Bobby Mac had taken when I was twenty-seven at a church picnic. That's how I looked now! Heaven is full of wonderful surprises and perhaps one of the sweetest was knowing that others see me always at my best, my brightest, my happiest. Age doesn't matter. There is no old, no young. The dear children who left the earth too soon are what they were meant to be in full flower and the aged who are worn and bent and frail at death once again blossom. It was such a thrill for me to see Mama in a flapper's dress with a little tilted red hat and a glittery beaded dress and high heels, her beautiful face shining with love. In Heaven, your essence determines your appearance. You are the best you ever were and yet nothing is lost of your lifetime.

Ghost at Work
. Copyright © by Carolyn Hart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

An accomplished master of mystery, Carolyn Hart is the author of twenty previous Death on Demand novels. Her books have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. She is also the creator of the Henrie O series, featuring a retired reporter, and the Bailey Ruth series, starring an impetuous, redheaded ghost. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City.

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