The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller

by Cleo Coyle

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425237458
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Series: Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series , #6
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 16,220
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 17 Years

About the Author

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 Coffeehouse Mysteries—now celebrating more than ten years in print. As Alice Kimberly, they also write the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. 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 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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Girl in the Store

Some people make no effort to resemble their pictures.

-Salvador Dali

Quindicott, Rhode Island

September, present day

"Excuse me, miss. Do you have the new Girl book?"

The question came on a busy Saturday afternoon. My inquisitive customer tapped me on the shoulder while I was restocking Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Masons (in order), The Case of the Velvet Claws through The Case of the Postponed Murder.

The woman was about thirty years my senior-early to mid-sixties. Fashionably slender, she wore designer jeans at least three sizes smaller than my curvy figure. Her lilac cashmere sweater was an elegant choice for the early-autumn chill, along with her matching beret, which she'd jauntily pinned to her sleek silver bob. A fine leather jacket was draped over one arm while the other balanced a stack of books from our shelves.

Judging from her posh clothing and late-September tan, I assumed she was a holdover from the summer people who had second homes in nearby Newport. I'd noticed her a few times, strolling through the streets of our little town, but I'd never seen her in Buy the Book, and I welcomed this chance to make her a regular customer.

After grabbing a basket, I helped her load it with her selections-while trying to decipher her enigmatic request.

"About the new Girl book, were you referring to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Are you looking for one of its sequels?"

"No, no! That's the Millennium series!" The woman shook her head so vigorously I was afraid her pastel beret might Frisbee off and bean another customer. "I'm talking about the other Girl series."

"I see. The one written by . . . ?"

An impatient exhale followed-as if to question whether I knew anything about the books I was selling. "I forget the author's name, but the first was Gone Girl and then came The Girl on the Train. I'm simply asking if the third book is out."

"That's not actually a series," I gently replied. "More of a literary trend, written by two different authors."

"You're telling me the Girl in the title is not the same girl?"

"Uh, no. Gone Girl did not divorce her husband, move from Missouri to London, acquire a drinking habit, and see something she shouldn't have while riding the British rail system."

By now, I was smiling good-naturedly. My chic customer was not.

A strand of auburn hair escaped my ponytail. Curling it around an ear, I tried to read the woman's eyes behind her heavily tinted glasses. I couldn't. But her long silence told me she was not amused.

Aw, tell her to go pound sand!

The impolitic voice in my head had a familiar gruff ring.

I ignored it, along with the sudden cold emanating from our shop's fieldstone wall. The chill penetrated the thin material of my pleated brown slacks and simple white blouse, sending shivers from the nape of my neck to the tips of my toes.

Pushing up my black-framed glasses, I pressed forward in the only way an eager bookseller (or Mafia don) knows how-I made the customer an offer she couldn't refuse.

"If you liked the Girl novels, I'm sure you'll enjoy this!"

With the speed of a Treasury press minting money, I handed her a copy of the hottest-selling book of the fall season, a spicy thriller called Shades of Leather.

The woman set down her basket and accepted the weighty hardcover (six hundred-plus pages). A lift of her tinted glasses revealed high cheekbones and azure blue eyes that appeared quite striking against her tanned skin and silver bangs.

"Jessica Swindell? I've never heard of this author. Has she written anything else?"

"It's her debut. The reviews are mixed, but the general public is raving. A major movie contract is in the works, and sales are through the roof. It's far outpacing the trade's last big book, Bang, Bang Baby."

Her hand fluttered dismissively. "I heard that novel was nothing but tripe."

As she spoke, she studied the front cover, an artfully done side-shot of a nude woman stretched catlike across a red leather couch. The muscular arms of two strong men gripped the sofa on either side, ready to haul the furniture and the woman out of the picture.

I tapped the tome. "The publisher came up with a clever idea on the packaging. They issued three dustcovers, identical except for the color of the upholstery. That's the red couch edition. We've already sold out of the black leather and blue suede covers."

Clearly curious, the woman flipped over the book-and gasped.

Frankly, I couldn't see why. The author's photo was as artfully done as the cover. Jessica Swindell appeared young and attractive, her face partially veiled by a curtain of wild black hair, her nudity concealed tastefully behind a bedsheet-sure, the silhouette created by the diamond-shaped window in the background gave the impression of nudity. But the portrait was far from salacious enough to elicit the woman's extreme response.

Swaying as if she were about to faint, my new customer stepped back and spilled the basket of books on the floor. Gripping Shades of Leather with two trembling hands, she stared harder at the author's photo.

"I don't understand," she rasped. "How can this be? HOW?"

She looked up at me so suddenly her tinted glasses dropped back over her eyes.

"This picture. It's ME! But I'm not the author! I've never even heard of Jessica Swindell!"

I blinked, too confused to cross the gulf of silence between us. At last, I gently inquired whether her vision might be the issue. "Now that your glasses are back on, why don't you take another look-"

"MY EYESIGHT IS FINE. I KNOW MY OWN PICTURE WHEN I SEE IT!"

A few nearby customers were staring now.

Obviously, this woman was not Jessica Swindell, which meant, of course, she wasn't right in the head. Maybe she needs her medications, I thought.

Or maybe she's had a few too many!

Pipe down, I warned the gruff voice. This lady is in some kind of distress. The reason doesn't matter. What matters is . . .

"Ma'am," I said carefully, "why don't you sit down? I'll bring you a drink of water, unless you prefer-"

Another bottle of giggle pills!

"-some nice hot tea."

While I suggested more (non-alcoholic) remedies for her delusion, I began to pry the offending book from her hands. Her response was instant. Jerking the novel to her chest, she glanced from side to side as if searching for answers. Finding none, she bolted, shoving aside customers as she raced down the aisle.

Before I could stop her, the old girl was gone.

Chapter 2

Girl on the Run

Nobody steals books except kleptomaniacs and university students.

-Mark Helprin, Freddy and Fredericka

"Sakes alive!"

The store's anti-theft alarm brought my aunt, Sadie Thornton, out from behind the cash register, hands covering her ears. "What on earth just happened?"

A little larceny, I'd say . . .

The unspoken reply didn't come from me. The unapologetically masculine presence belonged to Jack Shepard, the spirit of a murdered private eye from the 1940s who'd been haunting me since the new renovations to our old bookstore disturbed his eternal rest.

Either that, or he was my own special kind of crazy.

Whatever he was, Jack had become a source of . . . well, many things: comfort and advice; aggravation and exasperation.

Was he really a ghost? Or some kind of alter ego, created by a girl weaned on her late father's collection of Black Mask boys? Whatever he was-to me, Jack felt as real as death and taxes. And ever since I began "dialoguing with him" (as an online therapist once suggested), I'd felt better able to cope with the stresses of life.

Bottom line: I couldn't get rid of Jack. But at this point in our relationship, I honestly didn't want to.

Hurrying to the alarm box, I told my aunt about the mystery lady who ran off with our twenty-nine-dollar hardcover-

"The magnetic tape inside is what triggered the alarm."

"She didn't pay for it?" Sadie cried in surprise. Not because of the theft itself. Petty pilfering was nothing new to a woman who'd spent decades in retail. The whole town could recite the story of the local college kid who'd tried to shove a Hammett first edition down his pants. Sadie had put a stop to that with one sharp Patricia Cornwell to the head.

What astonished my aunt was the blatant grab-and-dash by an elegant older woman. It surprised me, too. And I had no explanation except to say-

"She seemed disturbed." As I danced my fingers over the alarm's keypad, the deafening racket ceased.

"Why in heaven was she so upset?"

"I don't know. She insisted the author portrait on the back of Shades of Leather was really her photo. Then she spilled her basket of books and ran off."

"My goodness me. It certainly doesn't sound like your average store thief. I hope that poor woman is all right."

Sadie's forehead furrowed with concern, an expression I'd seen many times, including on that day a few years back when I'd arrived at her shop feeling as confused and upset as my mysterious fleeing customer.

Shortly after my husband died, I packed up my son, moved away from my wealthy in-laws in New York City and back to this little Rhode Island town where I'd been born and raised.

When I turned up on Sadie's doorstep-a weary young widow with a son unable to comprehend the suicide of his father-my stalwart aunt took our burdens on her diminutive seventy-something shoulders without breaking stride.

There was no judgment, no inquisition, and most importantly no implication of fault, which I couldn't say about my toxic in-laws, who wanted someone to blame for my husband's end.

From Sadie there was only love, support, and the practical matters of settling us into her place, helping us move beyond death and get on with the business of living.

My grateful response was to pour all of my husband's insurance money into rebuilding Sadie's failing business, from the restored plank floor to the new awning and paint job.

Sadie's father had opened this shop decades ago, and (unfortunately) the interior showed it. I replaced the dented metal shelves with polished wooden cases, added throw rugs, comfortable chairs, and standing lamps. I even bought the storefront next door to create our Community Events space. But the most important improvement was to the core of the business.

My years in New York publishing had paid off with connections in the book trade. For the first time, our little family store began to host author appearances and signings. We'd cosponsored festivals, fostered reading groups, and closely monitored and refreshed our stock, adorning our windows with big bestselling hardcovers as well as trade paperbacks from local authors. Finally, I introduced Sadie's expertise (in used, rare, and first edition publications) to the twenty-first century's World Wide Web of customers.

The result of all this was a new, improved, and profitable Buy the Book. A store that prided itself on knowing its business and its customers-

Ahem!

Okay, Jack, with the exception of today's embarrassing incident.

You can say that again!

"I've seen the woman around town," I told my aunt, "but I don't know her."

Sadie returned to the shop counter, glasses swaying on the chain around her neck. "Let's tuck her selections into a reserve nook, in case she comes back to shop again-"

Don't you mean shoplift?

Don't be snarky, I told the ghost while retying my ponytail-that's when the phone rang.

"Is it Spencer?" I asked hopefully.

My young son had won a scholarship to attend a special weeklong computer seminar for middle schoolers, and he wouldn't be back from Boston until the middle of next week. He hadn't been gone long, but I missed him terribly.

Sadie checked the caller ID and shook her head.

"It's Chief Ciders. He's probably calling to find out why the alarm went off."

"This citywide security system is starting to bug me. It's a big time-sink for the police and a dubious added cost for the small businesses. We've had three false alarms this month-one in the middle of the night!"

Sadie sighed. "I felt bad for Bookmark. The poor little cat didn't mean to trigger the motion detector. She just likes to roam the store at night."

"I wonder if the burglar alarm goes off every time someone samples a grape at Koh's market?"

Sadie handed me the phone. "Ask the chief. He's been pinching produce for years."

"Buy the Book. May I help you?"

I answered in a cheerful tone, even though I knew it would annoy Quindicott's top cop. Pretty much everything bothered Chief Ciders, who'd been talking retirement since before Sadie and I revitalized her once-failing business. Unfortunately, he never got around to actually retiring.

"That you, Penelope?" Ciders griped. "You gonna tell me why the heck my computer lit up and disturbed my busy Saturday?"

"A book set off the door alarm."

"Does that mean I have to arrest some church lady for slipping a Mickey Spillane into her girdle?"

"And that would be a problem because-?"

"Deputy Chief Eddie Franzetti is running security at the high school football game with Deputy McCoy. And my new deputy is out on the highway working traffic duty for Dr. Ridgeway's funeral. Which means I'm way too short of officers for a Saturday, the very day punk kids, who don't care about football, gather on the town commons to cause trouble. So what do you want me to do?"

"Not a thing, Chief. Let's call this a false alarm-you're free to police the teenage flash mob to your heart's content."

Ciders grunted a reply.

"Chief, you really ought to drop by the bookstore. I know you love Mike Hammer, but there are mystery authors besides Mickey Spillane-"

"Not to me," he said and hung up.

With a sigh, I returned to the aisle to finish gathering up the contents of our book thief's spilled basket-an array of newly published mysteries and thrillers.

Sadie seemed convinced the lady would return to apologize and pay us, not only for Shades of Leather but also for the basket of books she'd taken time to pick out.

I had my doubts-until I found the game changer among the scattered volumes. The mystery woman had left something else behind.

"She should at least come back for these," I said, waving a pair of expensive driving gloves.

As the fine leather flapped in the air, I detected a sweet, familiar scent. Could it be? Putting the gloves to my nose, I carefully inhaled-then smiled.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Cleo Coyle.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
CozyMarie 4 months ago
Unlike any other cozy I have read. A ghost / “alter ego” for the protagonist who helps solve the mystery? How unique. Jack and Penn are so different, yet compliment each other well. Like french fries and a chocolate milk shake. Penn is a mother and I appreciate her relationship with her son throughout the book. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. An entertaining read!
Hershey07 5 months ago
Oh my goodness, I was so glad to see Jack again! I have missed him so!!! Penelope and Jack are one of my favorite sleuthing teams, and they are finally back and find themselves in one of their most challenging cases yet. It all starts when a customer comes into Penelope’s bookshop and runs out in a panic, while taking a book without paying for it. Little does Penelope know how complicated things are getting ready to get for her. It was great seeing all the characters I have come to love again. As with the other books, readers get a glimpse into Jack’s past. That is one of my favorite things about the series. Penelope and Jack make such a great team together. It is the continued development of these two characters that make this one of my favorite series. One of my favorite things about the book were the clever titles of each chapter with a quote from various people, characters, or books. It hinted at what each chapter would be about! It made the flow of the book seamless in my opinion. This is a great mystery, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing! Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long before seeing Penelope and Jack again!!!!
mymissdaisy 5 months ago
My first (and not my last) from this team. I was intrigued by the fact that the authors are a husband and wife team. Very cool. I am sorry that I've missed the others all 5 of them. This one was a sure stand alone as I am sure the others are. The Ghost and the Bogus Bookseller was just fun. The characters are charming even the ghost. You'll be on a bit of a ride following as Pen tries to do the sleuthing and solve the mystery. She has some help along the way with the bookshop resident ghost Jack. Jack was a detective so he has all the skill to help solve the crimes. I am looking forward to some backtracking and picking up a few more in this series. I received a complimentary copy.
CozyUpWithKathy 6 months ago
Jack is back! THE GHOST AND THE BOGUS BESTSELLER by Cleo Coyle The Sixth Haunted Bookshop Mystery Jack Shepard, the ghost of a 1940s private detective is back on the scene. A slightly snobbish customer has fled Buy the Book, unpaid novel in hand. It's more than the theft that concerns Penelope Thornton-McClure, it's the older woman's reaction to the latest bestseller. Concerned, Pen, accompanied by Jack, tracks the woman down. What they discover is a slightly decrepit apartment, a talking bird, and a dead body. While it appears that the troubled customer committed suicide, the scene doesn't quite add up. Pen and Jack agree-it's murder! Almost fifteen years ago I met a man. He was a little rough around the edges, but dashing, charming, and mysterious. I developed a major crush. Oh, I knew it would never work out between us, after all, he was dead...and fictional, but that didn't stop me from dreaming. Then he disappeared. For ten years I didn't hear from him, you might say he ghosted...but now Jack Shepard is back and better than ever! After a ten year hiatus, the sixth Haunted Bookshop Mystery continues as if practically no time had passed and while readers may appreciate more subtleties if they've read the previous books in the series, especially how Jack and Pen met, it is certainly not necessary to appreciate this captivating new mystery that is both timely and timeless. Cleo Coyle skillfully weaves a mystery filled with intersecting stories, past and present. It gives a look at literary snobbishness and academic condescension in the face of mass popularity as well as the perils of publishing. What's fascinating is how Jack shows cases from his past that shed light on the current mystery. The way in which Jack and Pen can be together is magical, and a fun trip to the 1940s for readers. But the mystery is just part of it. THE GHOST AND THE BOGUS BESTSELLER illustrates how past choices can affect the present. It deals with love and loss, courage and partnership. Jack's been helping Pen, not only solve crimes, but believe in herself, heal herself and learn to love again. Welcome back, Jack. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book in the hopes I would review it.
WisReader 6 months ago
Does art imitate life or is it the other way around? Does anyone ever really write a book by themselves? This book gives us so much to question and ponder. When a harried older woman seems to have a melt-down in the middle of Pen's bookstore, rushing off with the latest bestseller, of an erotic nature, Pen and best ghost sidekick are tossed into an otherworldy investigation to what the heck is happening! Starting off very noir, in 1947, in Jack Shepherd's time and world, most of the book takes place in present day, with modern technology. However, when necessary, and when reflection seems to draw upon a similar case from the past, Jack is able to take Pen back with him to when he was a P.I. full time. The language differences were fun to bounce around. While the action moves at a quick pace and there are plot twists aplenty, the tension rises the closer you get to the end. You will find yourself flying through the pages. This book also motivated me to rummage around and reorganize my own library. You will never get the same opportunities and emotions from digital books.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Just finished reading this!!! Worth waiting for! Hope it wont take another 10 years to see another.
RobynKFLNJ 6 months ago
Jack and Penelope are back, and I couldn't be happier! I've read every book in this series, waited a very long time for this book to come out, and I was not disappointed. Penelope is a strong woman who has the love and support of family and friends. I love the relationship between Penelope, and Jack, her "spirited" private eye. Penelope is the only one who can communicate with Jack, and he helps her to solve crimes, that she inadvertently gets involved in, by giving suggestions and clues of cases he solved in the past. This is a riveting book and series, and I was glued to the pages. I didn't want it to end. I hope there are many more books in this series, and I don't have to wait so long for the next one to come out!
Editing_Pen 6 months ago
You're going to like this one. Perfectly fine as a stand-alone as the author sprinkles in a bit of exposition here and there to catch you up on how things came to be. But you will want to go to book one so you can really get to know Pen and Jack and see their journey. I love how the author keeps the two worlds clear with color, lingo, and pacing, separating the present with Jack's time period. And how Pen gets there, while not technically and fully explained, seems to work and maintains a needed sense of mystery about it. A couple of times the author so cleverly alluded that maybe it really was only Pen's dream. Which I immediately shrugged off since I'm in love with Jack. There's humor, flair, and a good solid plot. After hitting the town with Jack and Pen and experiencing the two separate worlds they live in, I felt a subtle undercurrent of bittersweet, almost sad poignancy between the two that leaves me hoping one day they will truly be together.
rgp1950 3 months ago
I’m so glad Jack Shepherd is back. The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller is the sixth book in the Haunted Bookshop series. Even though it’s been a long time since the last book, this author hasn’t missed a beat in her writing. It feels as though I just finished reading book five. As another reviewer said, “This is a cozy mystery that has all the right elements – a good mystery, interesting characters, a little humor, some twists and unexpected turns and a satisfying ending. Although this book could be read as a stand-alone, you’re missing out if you don’t read the whole series.
Anonymous 3 months ago
So I probably wouldn't have given it 5 stars if I hadn't been waiting for forever to read this, but oh my gosh, it really was great. Yes, I had missed Jack and Pen so much, and it was great to be in their world again, and all of the other characters were their usual wonderful selves as well. The mystery itself was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed guessing my way through it. I would have gotten through faster, but I was enjoying the read too much to rush. I didn't have the solution figured out until Pen hit on it, and loved the whole concept. I understand that there is another one in the works, and I can't wait. Love, love, love this series!
Dollycas 5 months ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Jack and Pen fans Rejoice! This series is back with a brand new mystery! New readers Rejoice! The authors have written this mystery in a way that you can jump right in with this new mystery and feel right at home. Penelope Thornton-McClure got more than she bargained for in her bookshop, but now that she has gotten to know Private Eye Jack Shepard she wouldn’t have it any other way. You see, Jack is a ghost from the 1940’s, killed in the shop in 1947, and he has saved her more than once. Together they have solved quite a few mysteries too. A new book has just been released and it has been flying off the shelves. When a well to do customer falls apart in the store after a peek at the book jacket, Pen becomes concerned. That and the woman ran out of the store without paying for the book. When Pen tracks her down she makes a horrible discovery, the woman is dead and was killed not long before Pen’s arrival. The police say suicide but Pen doesn’t think so. There is a whole lot more about this bestseller than the story within the pages and with Jack’s help Pen is going find out what it is, even if it means making contact with a killer. I was so excited to hear this series was returning. Book #5, The Ghost in the Haunted Mansion was released in 2008. Ten years later our patience has been rewarded. Don’t worry if you have forgotten details about the characters or if this is a new series to you. The characters are all introduced like this is the first book in the series. They are some incredible characters too. Jack, Pen, Aunt Sadie, co-owner of the bookstore, mailman Seymour, and Bookmark, the cat, are all back. The author’s style of writing really set a scene and give readers a delightful mystery. Well-written and well-plotted the story is full of twists and turns that make the book very hard to put down. I really love the trips back in time Jack takes Pen on via her dreams. She and readers get to see how one of his old cases played out and helps her see clues to the current mystery. These authors never fail to give readers an impressive mystery. I was so excited to start reading this book but was sad to see it end. I am so happy to have reconnected with these characters and truly hope we do not have to wait 10 years to visit Quindicott again.
bookwomen37 5 months ago
I am so happy that this series is back. This new one picks right up where the old series ended. Pen and Jack are back in their bookstore solving murders. Pen and her Aunt Sadie own and operate a book store in a small Rhode Island town. Jack is their resident ghost. He was a PI in 40s who was murdered in his office, now the book store. The season's best seller is a racy thriller but no one knows anything about the author. When a customer recognizes her picture on the back of the DJ and rushes out Pen decides to visit her to see how she is doing. Pen of course stumbles across a dead body. The police think it is a suicide, Pen and Jack know better. Together they set out to solve the murder. I really like bookstore and small town setting. The characters are a lot of fun. The mystery was very good with a few surprises. This series does not have to be read in order. Enjoy this fun cozy biblio mystery.
mymissdaisy 5 months ago
My first (and not my last) from this team. I was intrigued by the fact that the authors are a husband and wife team. Very cool. I am sorry that I've missed the others all 5 of them. This one was a sure stand alone as I am sure the others are. The Ghost and the Bogus Bookseller was just fun. The characters are charming even the ghost. You'll be on a bit of a ride following as Pen tries to do the sleuthing and solve the mystery. She has some help along the way with the bookshop resident ghost Jack. Jack was a detective so he has all the skill to help solve the crimes. I am looking forward to some backtracking and picking up a few more in this series. I received a complimentary copy.
VWilliams 5 months ago
What a delightful and unique cozy mystery! Apparently a 1940's PI Jack Shepard was killed in the very bookstore in which the widowed protagonist Penelope Thornton-McClure joined her Aunt Sadie as co-owner. Jack Shepard totally exudes the part of a "hard-boiled" private investigator replete with period vernacular. Jack has been tempered just a tad, however, by Penelope (Pen) as she introduces her modern-day sensitivities to Jack. A customer abruptly gasps at the back jacket of their current bestseller and flees the store with the book but without paying. Pen was able to track down the lady but discovers her body, an apparent suicide. She doesn't think so. I particularly enjoyed the appropriately named chapter titles and the little quotes to kick off the chapter. Besides well-known name quotes, the author(s) manage a few pearls of their own, several of which produced a chuckle. I also enjoyed the knowledge (or the thorough and effective research) imparted regarding classic books and authors, some of which I'd forgotten but produced an "oh, yes..." There were also a couple racy innuendos and tongue-in-cheek puns, intended. The setting is a little town in Rhode Island and although this is set as #6 in the series has no problem standing alone. The main characters from the previous series entries are back along with popular support members and each provide a rich component to the well-plotted mystery. The writing style is fun and the pace steady. The flashback dreams where Jack takes Pen back to 1947 with him to experience one of his cases has you wondering briefly about the interruption to the storyline until you see how it's incorporated into the main plot. You may think you know who is behind the deed, but you won't guess the entire story or motive. The story has a lot of personality and delivers a satisfying conclusion. I was given the download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I'll be looking forward to #7 in the series! Recommended for readers who enjoy a different and clean, intelligent cozy mystery with a paranormal bent in their amateur sleuths.
KrisAnderson_TAR 6 months ago
The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle is the long anticipated sixth book in The Haunted Bookshop Mystery series. Penelope Thornton-McClure co-owns Buy the Book with her aunt, Sadie Thornton in Quindicott, Rhode Island. A nicely dressed female customer is looking for a book recommendation and Penelope directs her towards Shades of Leather, the current bestseller. After the customer looks at the author’s photograph, she gets upset and takes off with the book—without paying for it. Penelope noticed that the woman left her gloves behind and they smell of cinnamon. One call to the bakery gets Penelope the customer’s name and address thanks to a raffle. Penelope with her resident 1940s ghost, Jack Shepard head to Emma Hudson’s apartment where they find her dead at the bottom of the steps. While Chief Ciders is quick to rule it a suicide, the sleuthing duo have their doubts. When a mysterious accident is brought to Penelope’s attention, she has a feeling that it is connected to Emma and Shades of Leather. Who is behind these strange killings and what do they have to do with the book? Penelope and Jack must work quickly before the killer claims another victim. Fans of The Haunted Bookshop Mystery series have been waiting ten years for The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller. If you are new to the series or fail to remember all the details, do not worry. The author gives readers all the information needed on the main characters, the bookshop and the town. Penelope, Jack, Spencer, Aunt Sadie, Seymour, Eddie and Bookmark (the cat) are back for another adventure. Jack is a dashing character with a sexy voice and a chilling presence. He has a unique point-of-view being from a different era, provides humor and I love his 1940s lingo. Penelope is an intelligent widow who loves books. However, she has yet to recover from her husband’s suicide and this case brings back old feelings and memories. Penelope and Jack have a good working relationship. You can feel the chemistry between them, but they are separated by time. Cleo Coyle has a lively writing style which sets the stage for the book with her vivid imagery. Her writing allowed me to imagine the scenes in my head. The 1940 dream scenes came alive with her descriptions. We get a glimpse into Jack’s life and his old cases. They also provide clues to their current mission. The mystery is complex with various twists to it. I liked following Penelope and Jack’s investigation to figure out the who and why. There was some repetition of case details that I could have done without along with the cliché Chief Ciders. I liked that Seymour was included in the investigation. Spencer and his new friend, Amy Ridgeway added to the story. Amy is a precocious young lady and I liked how her story turned out (it will have you chuckling). Come along to Quindicott for an exciting venture with Penelope and her ghostly PI, Jack Shepard in The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller.
dibbylodd 6 months ago
I am so glad that the pressure of readers convinced the authors to continue this series. Like the Coffeehouse series, the characters are well defined and of interest. The mystery, as always, works well. We're given plenty of information and clues, but it's still quite challenging to figure out. I just hope our next "date" with Jack and Penn will be much sooner!
WyHalo 6 months ago
The Haunted Bookshop series is fun and I was happy to get my hands on a review copy of the latest. I'd previously read the first three books in the series (this is the 6th), and I liked each one a little more than the first, which I found a bit flat. I get the impression the series continued to improve over time, because I quite liked The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller and read it straight through one lazy afternoon. This time, Penelope McClure is about to sell a copy of the latest bestseller, a 50 Shades style erotic novel, to a woman who, upon seeing the author photo on the dust jacket, grabs the book and runs away. When the customer turns up dead, Pen and Jack, the ghost of a dead 1940s P.I. start to dig into the mystery author of "Shades of Leather" and unravel what happened to the dead woman. The story is well-paced with plenty of clues and dead ends dropped in for fun. Pen and Jack's relationship is still fun, and I love the dream sequences where Pen travels back to the 40s with Jack to find connections between his old cases and the one in the present day. Fans of the series will be glad its back, but I think any mystery lover would enjoy it, too. I received a free ebook ARC from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley. This is my honest review.
Anonymous 6 months ago
diane92345 7 months ago
“Your eyes are bigger than a hooch hound at a hop joint” says Jack in the Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller. That perfectly describes my feelings when I saw this delightful series return after a ten year long Big Sleep. Penelope runs a bookstore with her aunt Sadie in Quindicott, Rhode Island. A widow, after her husband’s suicide, Penelope returns to her hometown with her eleven year old son. While renovating the bookstore, she disturbs Jack, the ghost of a 1940s hard-boiled detective. Jack offers Penelope much unsolicited advice in the patois of his time. At the bookstore, new customer, Emma, sees an author photo on a steamy novel that disturbs her. While the author’s name is not familiar, the author’s photo is. It’s Emma herself! Without paying, Emma races out with the book in hand. Penelope uncovers Emma’s address and goes there after work to recover the book. She finds the door unlocked, rare books everywhere and Emma dead of an apparent suicide. When incompetent Chief Ciders refuses to look into the case as a suspicious death, Penelope and Jack investigate. I read most of this series as they were published in the 2000s. I always enjoyed the gentle joshing of Sam Spade type detectives. The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller carries on seamlessly in this tradition. Despite his language and tough guy attitude, Jack seems like a real and caring person. Emma is an excellent amateur detective who rarely makes a wrong move—mostly because of Jack’s help. The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller is highly recommended for cozy mystery readers looking for something a bit different. There are plenty of suspects and deaths to keep armchair detectives busy. 4 stars! Thanks to the publisher, Berkeley Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.