The Ghost Shows the Way

The Ghost Shows the Way, A ghost Haven Mystery assumed published, copyright and written by Kristine Frost.

The story opens as highly successfully artist Tabitha Black is providing mental as well as still a degree of physical aid to her cousin and best friend Courtney Spencer. Courtney has just recently returned home from an extended hospital stay resulting from a nearly fatal automobile accident. Her already thoroughly shaken mental state is further disturbed by the fact that she recently also had been left a large estate by her uncle who was a most disagreeable person whom she hardly knew but who had hated her parents. The distress is exacerbated by arrival of a letter from the lawyer handling the will. It states that she must go to the estate, house all of the recipients mentioned therein and be ready for its reading by a specific date. It also stipulates that if she does not accept her gift and comply, all listed recipients will lose their inheritance. She feels forced to go so Tabitha accompanies her. The old home is a huge building looking every bit what would be expected of such a manor house constructed many years ago. Its setting is in a miserable and desolate area frequently enveloped in fog and with miserable changes in weather. A housekeeper/chef and a couple of servants who have been left to take care of the house are able to arrange matters adequately to deal with the influx of relatives. The plot progresses as the reader is made aware of the totally miserable, greedy and vengeful character of the deceased and the similarly abominably miserable characters of each and all of the relatives. Additionally a weather front moves through bringing thunderstorms, heavy drifting snow and other conditions that isolate the house and its occupants. The cars in which the various relatives arrived even mysteriously have been damaged so no one could leave anyway. Tempers flare among the irascible mean-spirited relatives and one of them is found murdered. Fortunately, they are able to get a useable line to the police, but here other problems pop up. Two constables disappear and more unpleasantnesses occur with more skullduggery encountered until finally Tabitha, aided by a family ghost is able to bring some closure to the entire affair.

Discussion: The author has provided an engaging murder mystery for the devotee – the setting, the miserable characters, the multiple suspects, plus the aid of an obliging ghost. The tale is a little slow in beginning but the entire story is quite well presented with important features doled out in a manner that exacerbates the suspense and mystery.

5* Enjoyably mysterious, suspenseful ghost story.

Finalities

FINALITIES, A Mattie James mystery, published, copyright and written by M. A. R. Unger.

The story opens with Matti arriving at London’s Gatwick Airport accompanied by Joe Chauncey, her occasional love interest and former CIA operative with many clandestine operations in his past. She, as a forensic facial reconstruction expert of some reputation working from the coroner’s office in Las Vegas, has been assigned along with another from England, to attempt to discover the identities of 3 soldiers found recently in an unusual shallow grave in Oxfordshire near an old Roman site. The three are believed to be American soldiers from the 1940’s when Americans were there preparing for the invasion of France. Unfortunately, only some dog tags eventually were discovered and these were bundled together shoved down the throat of one corpse. For undisclosed but supposedly cogent reasons both countries’ defense departments desired all activity to be performed with as little attention as possible. Matti, in her apparently usual manner, digs deeper into the mystery beyond doing her assigned job and becomes an object to be destroyed because desperate family members must keep unsavory activity from being revealed. Action shifts between Oxsfordshire and Las Vegas, USA where members of the family now are wealthy film makers with few scruples and with connections to a powerful mob boss of Matti’s acquaintance now have become active players. Other prominent characters include a retired army major, Gregory Reynolds, along with Matti’s assumedly long-standing wealthy friend Linda and her ‘inbetweener’ friend Abby – the spirit of a dead person still not having left earth for the beyond. The plot eventually terminates in a satisfactory manner.

Discussion/Summary: This sixth book in this mystery series is a well-written, interesting story with a quite unusual plot and provision of details of some lesser known forensic investigative techniques. Helpful bits of information also are gained at most appropriate times from Matti’s ‘inbetweener’ friend Abby. Parenthetically, Abby’s help amusingly brings to mind an inclusion many years ago in a science journal that often included cartoons and other amusing bits. One was of a young researcher had placed a long complicated formula on the blackboard as solution to a difficult scientific problem. An older mentor, points to a section in parentheses that had been included in the center of the formula and says “I believe we need a little further explanation here.” The section pointed to read “here a miracle happens”.

5* Interesting and often amusing mystery suspense thriller.