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The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller: 04/28/22

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle is the sixth book in the Haunted Bookshop mystery series. It's also the first one attributed to Cleo Coyle instead of Alice Kimberly. Both are nom de plumes for a married couple. The book also marks a decade gap between books. As I only started reading the series a year ago, all the drama that long term fans of the series experienced, I missed.

The store is doing well. There's a new best seller that's selling like hotcakes. Everyone seems to be reading it — a crossover hit for men and women. Pen doesn't think anything about the book's success until a well dressed older woman sees the book, freaks out, and flees the store before paying for the copy she's holding. When Pen goes to find the woman, she stumbles onto the first of a string of murders associated with the book.

Like the previous books, Pen's modern day mystery is eerily similar to a case Jack investigated in his life time. The difference here, is that there's actually a cold case of sorts between Jack's time and the present. This case dates back to the late 1960s, early 1970s.

Ignoring the ghostly PI, the mystery's structure reads like a mixture of Coached in the Act by Victoria Laurie (2021) and Ghostal Living by Kathleen Bridge (2017). This is a mystery that requires the reader keep three timelines separate in their head if they want to solve the mystery before the main character.

As with the previous books in this series, I have been listening to them as audiobooks. Early on Jack had many more first person scenes than he does in more recent volumes. In The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller, Jack's only first person scene is the prolog. Yet, for reasons that escape me, the man hired to read Jack's prolog is also given the epilog to read. The problem: the epilog is clearly written from Pen's point of view!

The seventh book is The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (2021).

Five stars

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