This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Mystery Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on March 31, 2020
So, that big stunner at the end of book five left me so curious. How was Emma Lee going to handle this one? This light, often giggle-worthy paranormal cozy mystery series just stepped out into deep waters and I was in anticipation for how it would go. Well, it wasn’t exactly a slam dunk, but it was a deeply emotional listen in some ways.
A Ghostly Mortality is book six in the Ghostly Southern Mysteries. Most of the stories could be read or listened to as standalone though I do think they are best read in order. This one, however, is tied too tightly to the book that went before it and is more a continuation of a side plot in that one.
Emma Lee is wrapping up her previous Betweener client case and handling two funerals while going distracted that her infuriating stuck-up sister, Charlotte Rae, who took off to work at a rival funeral home, won’t sign the papers to end her association with the family funeral home. Emma Lee gets excited when Charlotte shows up thinking she’s there to give her the papers. But, Charlotte Rae is beyond the ability to sign papers and needs Emma’s help in her ghostly side of the business.
Emma uncovers a surprising scandalous side to her sister’s life and a confusing path of evidence that she needs Jack Henry’s help to untangle. But, along with her Betweener work, Emma Lee must come to terms with Charlotte Rae’s passing and the two sisters must come to terms with each other after the way things got so acrimonious in the end.
So, this series has been a bit of a roller coaster experience for me. I have a good time with parts and end up shaking my head at other parts. A Ghostly Mortality is one I feel badly for not loving more. I was deeply touched by Charlotte Rae’s death for Emma Lee’s sake and I was really moved by the lesson that both sisters learned through this time together solving Charlotte’s murder. They really got to know each other and come to a better understanding than they ever did when Charlotte was alive.
But, that said, I just never settled into this one. In the beginning, it was a prologue and four chapters of rehashing, sometimes verbatim, the events of the last half of the previous book. Then, Emma Lee pulls a pair of my pet peeves- dishonesty and unkindness with Jack Henry- all to stubbornly be the one to poke and nose about for evidence. Neither was provoked or necessary. It isn’t a large part of the story, but when she does this stuff it always leaves a sour taste in my mouth that other poignant or funny moments- and there are many of these- did eventually brush me past this.
The mystery had me pretty much stumped. I had no idea. There were some obvious suspects and motives, but it kept checking out. Yeah, didn’t see that coming. And, oh… new twist on Emma Lee’s betweener talent shows up there in the end and interesting about her personal life…
Incidentally, the ghost cat was a hoot!
Tiffany Morgan was a delightful narrator who is the voice of the series for me. She has all these characters down solid. I like the way she narrates from Emma Lee’s perspective and she has a comedic timing that makes me chuckle. This book showed me she can dig deep and deliver the sadness of loss so well. I teared up.
So, mixed bag, but I was glad to have listened in. It’s an entertaining series as a whole and a paranormal cozy mystery series that I can recommend to readers/listeners who appreciate that melding of genres.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
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