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An Intimate Ghost (Jane Lawless Series #12)

An Intimate Ghost (Jane Lawless Series #12)

4.5 2
by Ellen Hart

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Restaurateur Jane Lawless is thrilled to be catering the wedding of some family friends, Nick and Lauren Clifford, but when Jane arrives at the reception, she's in for a shock of a lifetime-and one that could jeopardize her career. The food has been spiked with hallucinogenic mushrooms and the drug-hazed guests are engaged in dangerously reckless behavior.



Restaurateur Jane Lawless is thrilled to be catering the wedding of some family friends, Nick and Lauren Clifford, but when Jane arrives at the reception, she's in for a shock of a lifetime-and one that could jeopardize her career. The food has been spiked with hallucinogenic mushrooms and the drug-hazed guests are engaged in dangerously reckless behavior.

When the groom takes a near fatal dive into an empty pool, an investigation begins and Jane turns to her best friend Cordelia Thorn for help in clearing her name. But when Cordelia's sister, Octavia, suddenly deserts her infant daughter on Cordelia's doorstep, Jane is on her own. Events take a turn for the worse when the father of the groom comes up against shocking accusations, and it's up to Jane to uncover the truth.

Once again, Ellen Hart has woven intriguing characters and surprising twists into a complex and absorbing story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An urgent message summons Jane Lawless to an unexpected psychedelic spectacle-the entire wedding party of a schoolteacher acquaintance tripping out-in Lambda Award-winner Hart's 11th assured mystery (after 2001's Merchant of Venus) to feature the Minnesota restaurateur and sometime sleuth. Someone has slipped a hallucinogenic mickey into Jane's catering staff's delectable comestibles, causing much embarrassment, litigation and one life-threatening injury when the groom leaps into an empty swimming pool. The poignant history of the groom's father, Alden Clifford, provides the ballast for this richly layered narrative, in which the suspense builds as the author slowly reveals the defining moment that overshadows all Alden's subsequent actions. Jane's longtime sidekick and co-investigator, Cordelia Thorn, is as diverting as ever, while the romantic atmosphere of Jane's Lyme House restaurant and the piquant offerings on the upscale menu will delight fans of culinary cozies. Touches of humor offset the heartfelt woe. Incorporating societal ills torn from the headlines, Hart bares the weaknesses in her well-realized characters as well as their strengths. Despite a plot refreshingly short on guns and gore, the tension is palpable in this spunky page-turner. (Mar. 8) FYI: Hart is also the author of Death on a Silver Platter (2003) and other titles in her Sophie Greenway mass-market mystery series. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When lesbian restaurateur Jane Lawless (Immaculate Midnight) arrives late for a wedding reception that she's catering, she finds that someone has spiked the food with mind-altering drugs. When the groom dies as a result, blame will surely fall on her. Recommended for gay fiction and popular mystery collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Kids do the darnedest things-drugs, murder, and turning a campy auntie into a devoted handmaiden. The Clifford wedding is a shambles. The groom swan-dives into an empty pool while his guests hallucinate, his bride carries on with the best man, and his father, a teacher, wonders whether someone's laced his food with magic mushrooms to avenge a student suicide. To fend off possible lawsuits, Minneapolis caterer/sometime sleuth Jane Lawless (Immaculate Midnight, 2002, etc.) starts an investigation of her own that makes little headway-until one of her kitchen staff is knifed, and a major babe insisting she's a p.i. sows doubts about Clifford senior, whose wife was having an affair and whose students now accuse him of pedophilia. Was Clifford a good guy or a former 15-year-old druggie who let his sister Patsy be kidnapped back in Kansas in 1972, then killed a kid and took off, emerging 30 years later under a new name? It all plays out unbelievably as Jane snuggles up to the ersatz p.i. and her best chum Cordelia steals a moment from doting on her baby niece Hattie to create a dramatic diversion and save the day. Cordelia, weaning baby Hattie from cartoons to Bette Davis movies, is enough to make you slog through the tedious plot, Jane's schmaltzy new romance, and the ancient newspaper excerpts. Give the gal her own book already.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Jane Lawless Series , #12
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
4.92(w) x 8.88(h) x 0.85(d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Hart, multiple Lambda Award winner and two-time Minnesota Book Award winner, is the author of twelve Jane Lawless mysteries, including most recently An Intimate Ghost, and the Sophie Greenway mystery series. She lives in Minneapolis.

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An Intimate Ghost (Jane Lawless Series #12) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is extremely readable and thoroughly enjoyable, though it's not one of Ellen Hart's best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jane Lawless and Cordelia must be the most fun sleuths EVER. To date, I own and have enjoyed every single one of the Jane Lawless mysteries and this one is no exception. Pick it up and I dare you to put it down again. You won't be able to. Ellen Hart is an amazing lady and a wonderful author. Grab yourself a mug of hot chocolate on a cold day, and curl up with Jane and Cordelia. It's a blast!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this 12th installment of the Jane Lawless mystery series, the opening prologue begins with a gripping kidnapping that takes place on Halloween in 1972. The circumstances of that prologue don¿t connect up for some time, but the shadow of the kidnapping hangs over the events that follow. In the present day, Jane Lawless is called to the location of a wedding her staff is catering. The guests are behaving oddly, and it quickly becomes clear that they¿ve been poisoned with something hallucinogenic. The police come, and the wedding guests are rushed to the hospital, but not before the Nick, the bridegroom, is badly injured diving into an empty swimming pool. Jane is frantic. Not only is she upset that people have been injured after eating her catered food, but she also fears lawsuits. Who would do such a terrible thing? She can¿t believe her workers would have anything to do with it. Why has she been targeted? ######### Alden Clifford, the groom¿s father, is a high school teacher, and he comes to the forefront as it becomes apparent that the attack might be connected to him and not about Jane at all. Six months earlier he had tried to prevent a school shooting, and the boy with the gun eventually shot and killed himself. Allegations about Alden¿s relationship with the boy come out, and Jane begins to wonder if this has made Alden the intended target. Nothing is immediately resolved, and Jane and The Lyme House are under police investigation. Jane turns to her best friend, Cordelia, but Cordelia has her own problems: namely a toddler dumped upon her doorstep by her sister. The little niece and Cordelia offer some great comic moments, and Cordelia, all by herself, is always funny. She refuses to ride in Jane¿s new Mini Cooper, calling it the ¿Daisy Duck-mobile.¿ Instead she has bought herself a green Hummer, a useful purchase which becomes clear later in the novel. ######### With an intricately interwoven plot, Hart rolls out perfectly timed scenes and details. The tension builds as the injury and death count increases. The author has never been better and does a marvelous job weaving in a compelling back story with the events of the present. She draws the reader in to this complex structure and doesn¿t let go until the final denouement some three hundred pages later. It¿s a gripping and compelling story. By the time the reader reaches the end, an intimate ghost has truly made its haunting presence known. Highly recommended. ~Lori L. Lake, author of Stepping Out, Different Dress, Gun Shy, Under The Gun, and Ricochet In Time, and reviewer for Midwest Book Review, The Independent Gay Writer, The Gay Read, and Just About Write.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Evergreen High School in Minneapolis, student Cullen Hegg pulls out a gun in the middle of a history class but his teacher Alden Clifford manages to talk the sophomore into letting the rest of the students leave. When it¿s just the two of them, Alden tries to talk Cullen out of using the gun but the despondent boy kills himself. The teacher is lauded by the media, the faculty and the other students from preventing even more bloodshed, but Alden doesn¿t think of himself as a hero and avoids publicity.

Several months later Jane Lawless, owner of the Lyme House Restaurant and Pub, caters the wedding ceremony of Alden¿s son Nick and Lauren Bautel.. However, someone placed hallucinogens into the food leading to Nick diving into an empty swimming pool and winding up in Intensive care. Jane identifies the culprit who flavored the food finally makes contact with him. Jane agrees to meet him at the hotel where he is hiding out. When she arrives, he is already dead and the murderer got away which means Jane is going to have to approach the problem from a different angle without getting herself killed.

Ellen Hart has written a very complex and fascinating amateur sleuth novel that has many sub-plots that tie back seamlessly to original theme. Through the use of flashbacks, readers gradually realize how the crimes of three decades ago are the catalyst for the dangerous felonies that are happening today. The heroine gradually pieces together the motivations for the death of her employee and the sprinkling of drugs in the food at the wedding buffet. INTIMATE GHOST deserves a Lambda Award consideration.

Harriet Klausner