Genres: Mystery Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Comedy
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on January 21, 2020
The previous book, A Ghostly Undertaker, introduced me to the quirky residents of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, and none could be quirkier than Emma Lee Raines who runs the local funeral home with her sister and sees ghosts since she got bopped on the head by a fallen plastic Santa. The ghosts insist she finds their murders and town sheriff, handsome high school crush, Jack Henry, insists she leave the investigating to him meanwhile her granny is stirring things up and the town gossips are having a field day. What’s not to like, right?
A Ghostly Grave is book two in the Ghostly Southern Mysteries series and builds on the previous book, but could be read standalone or out of order in a pinch.
Emma Lee Raines buried Colonel ‘Chicken’ Teater four years ago and when she started seeing ghosts, he was the first ghost to start pestering her to find his murderer. Now, the whole town wonders about his death when Jack Henry orders his body exhumed at Emma Lee’s advice that Chicken didn’t die naturally. Jack Henry knows she sees ghosts so he knows that her intel is good, but he also tells her to stay out of it now and leave the investigating to him.
Emma Lee can’t keep her nose out of it because Chicken won’t let her. He insists his beauty queen widow killed him and is more concerned about his prize hen, Lady Cluckington, in the hands of his wife who hated how he loved that hen more than her. Chicken doesn’t want to believe it was his wife, but she had strong motive and she has Emma Lee suspicious from the start with her false grief and the way she flirts with any red-blooded man near her including Jack Henry.
Meanwhile, the rival funeral home is taking more of their business and granny decides to run for mayor to oppose the rival funeral director who will make them all miserable if he gets elected. Granny is convinced the man stole her motor scooter and goes on a mission to get it back causing Emma Lee more embarrassment, distraction, and not just a little concern that between her seeing ghosts and her occupation plus a crazy granny, Jack Henry whom she has dreamed about for so long and has looked past her beautiful sister and all the other women to her might just finally decide its too much. He sure won’t like the lengths she has gone to in solving Chicken’s murder.
This was a crack up just like the first book. The books are not meant to be taken seriously and are more comedy than mystery and just as much cliched small town Southern life and romance. There is a little depth and some underlying serious elements like Emma Lee’s relationship with her sister, her loyalty to family and their business, and her concern that justice was done, but just as much amusing antics like the old gossipy women and their new fascination with yoga. Chicken Teater was hilarious when he spouted slightly crude, redneck aphorisms and got upset about his ex wife, the guy at the trailer park crushing on her, and cooed over his pet champion hen. Jack Henry is the straight guy in this comedic group trying to keep peace in the town, solve the crime, and show uncertain Emma Lee that he likes her just the way she is and he thinks she is the most beautiful woman.
The mystery side is not chinzed on and is clever enough to keep you guessing a bit and also deliver a few exciting suspenseful moments among all the amateur fumbling and bumbling of Emma Lee with her ghost guide.
Tiffany Morgan continues to narrate the series. She catches the tone of the books with an exaggerated slow drawl for most of the characters particularly when they are talking to Emma Lee all careful-like thinking she has the ‘funeral trauma’ (aka caught talking to ghosts). She has a wonderful vocal range for men and women’s voices, old and young, and all the emotions with a good sense of comedic timing.
In summary, it was highly entertaining and fun leaving me looking forward to the next ghostly escapades for Emma Lee and the rest of the Sleepy Hollow gang as told by Tiffany Morgan. Those who enjoy cozy mysteries with strong paranormal and romance elements should pick these up.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #16
Literary Pickers #33 audio