Emma may be just a regular TV host who acts as a ghost buster on the side, but her newest case is particularly troubling. She has just learned that old friends may have been haunted by a piece of jewelry, an heirloom diamond ring that causes people to attempt suicide. When the friends' daughter becomes the latest victim, Emma sees an angry ghost residing inside the gem. When she learns that the cursed ring came from the town of Jim Thorpe, PA, Emma must leave her familiar Southern California base to face the demons on their turf. VERDICT Jaffarian's welcome third entry in her paranormal series (Ghost à la Mode; Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini) sparkles as brilliantly as the story's haunted diamond. Incorporating historical interest with likable characters and steady suspense, she also makes paranormal activity seem plausible. One of the best cozy authors for light chatter and low-key humor, Jaffarian is currently juggling three series with aplomb! Victoria Laurie and Juliet Blackwell would be good read-alikes.
A diamond engagement ring brings misfortune to its owners. Joanna Reid believes her first husband, action hero Max Naiman, is haunting her years after he sent his car hurtling off a cliff in Malibu. So who better to ask for help than her old friend Emma Whitecastle, host of The Whitecastle Report, a popular cable TV show about the paranormal? But before Emma (Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini, 2011, etc.) can find out exactly what Max wants from his now-remarried widow, their daughter Lainey is hospitalized at a psychiatric facility following a series of attempts on her own life. Lainey blames her troubles either on her absent mother, now absorbed with her new hubby, business mogul Linwood Reid, or on her faltering engagement to pre-med student Keith Goldstein. Emma isn't so sure. A visit to Keith finds him in bed with Lainey's friend, Summer Perkins, who gets up and promptly plunges to her death from the condo's balcony. But Emma catches a glimpse of a supernatural being on Lainey's engagement ring, which Summer wore until just before her fall. And this spirit--unlike the ghost of Emma's own Granny Apples, who's generally helpful, although stubborn as a mule--seems bent on destruction. Tracing the ring's history sends Emma on a cross-country jaunt to the rural Pennsylvania town of Mauch Chunk, lately reborn as tourist destination Jim Thorpe. She's accompanied not only by the redoubtable Granny Apples, but by Quinn Keenan, adventurer and former guest on her TV show, whose Indiana Jones good looks and determined attentiveness spell trouble for Emma's romance with rancher Phil Bowers. Emma's third adventure takes the series from a quirky niche of its own right into the murky stew of mystery soaps.