A funeral, a ghost, a murder . . . It's all in a day's work for Emma Lee Raines . . .
Bopped on the head from a falling plastic Santa, local undertaker Emma Lee Raines is told she's suffering from “funeral trauma.” It's trauma all right, because the not-so-dearly departed keep talking to her. Take Ruthie Sue Payne—innkeeper, gossip queen, and arch-nemesis of Emma Lee's granny—she's adamant that she didn't just fall down those stairs. She was pushed.
Ruthie has no idea who wanted her pushing up daisies. All she knows is that she can't cross over until the matter is laid to eternal rest. In the land of the living, Emma Lee's high-school crush, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, isn't ready to rule out foul play. Granny Raines, the widow of Ruthie's ex-husband and co-owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, is the prime suspect. Now Emma Lee is stuck playing detective or risk being haunted forever.
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published: February 24th 2015 by Witness Source: Publisher
Three and a half stars: A quick, fun cozy with ghosts!
Emma Lee rubs her head trying to stave off a headache. Ruthie Payne's funeral service is underway, and Emma as the funeral director, is trying to get through the funeral without going crazy. The reason for her headache is that she is being haunted by the deceased who is insistent that Emma Lee help find her killer. Ruthie tells Emma that she didn't fall down the steps of her inn, but she was pushed. Emma reluctantly agrees to help if that means she can get rid of Ruthie. The problem is the further Emma digs, the more the evidence points at her grandma, who had a long feud with Ruthie. Can Emma solve the murder and rid herself of the pesky ghost?
What I Liked:
- I am always up for a quick, fun, light cozy with a good mystery, and A Ghostly Undertaking fit the bill. This is a book you can pick up and read in a sitting. It is easy, entertaining and it has everything you love about a good cozy: small towns, murder and a main character who isn't in law enforcement drawn into the case. In this read, instead of a cozy bakery or shop, you get a funeral home and ghosts. I liked the addition of the ghosts. All in all, I had a good time with this little mystery.
- Emma Lee is an interesting main character. She has grown up in the funeral business, and so she is a bit shy and socially awkward. Lately, she has been seeing ghosts and that has made her even more eccentric. I liked that Emma was smart, and unsophisticated compared to the rest of the Southern divas in the town. She was easy to like and to root for. I especially enjoyed watching her try and cope with her new found ghost whispering abilities.
- Ruthie, the ghost, at first comes across as the unlikable, nosy, old lady that no one in the town really liked. However, as the story goes on, Emma gets to know Ruthie, and I enjoyed watching the two of them form a friendship. I was surprised that I, like Emma, ended up really liking Ruthie at the end, I wasn't expecting that.
- This book is set in a small town, like most cozy mysteries. Sleepy Hollow is a quiet Southern Town in Kentucky, where everyone knows everyone and there are absolutely no secrets. I liked getting to know the townsfolk and exploring the town.
- The mystery is solid. It has lots of suspects and red herrings, several twists and a big reveal that you won't see coming. I always appreciate a well done mystery, and even though you have to suspend a bit of belief with this one, it is still a fun ride. Not one you can take seriously. It is quick, fun and cozy.
- I liked the beginnings of a romance. It was cute, slow and believable. I liked getting to know the history of the couple and watching them develop a friendship which looks like is going to turn into something more.
- The ending is satisfying in that all the main threads are concluded and they mystery is solved. No lingering nagging questions, however, there are some seeds planted for the next book.
And The Not So Much:
- I kept thinking that perhaps I had missed the first book, but this is indeed the first in the series. It seemed that there was a lot of back story that was glossed over, like the explanation as to how Emma started seeing ghosts and her first ghostly encounter, and the whole funeral trauma thing was only lightly touched upon. I felt like it was a recap, but it wasn't. Another niggling point for me was the whole relationship between Emma's grandmother and Ruthie. I wanted to know all the sordid details regarding Earl and the women and their feud. I kept thinking the full story would come out and it never did. I really need the dirt.
- All the evidence early on is pointing at Emma's grandma, and while I never believed that she was the killer, I was curious as to why she was acting the way she did. I was expecting her to redeem herself at the end, but she doesn't really. I wanted to like Zula, but there was something about her that put me off. I am hoping she will be better next time out.
- The whole reveal with the killer was a bit flimsy. I know when you read a cozy you have to suspend reality, but the whole finale with the killer and the big here is why I did it speech and all that felt a bit too far fetched. It was a bit weak.
A Ghostly Undertaking was a simple, fun cozy with ghosts. If you are someone who likes an unrealistic mystery set in a small town, this is a fun one to pick up because it features ghosts. This was a light, quick read, perfect when you need an escape or a palate cleanser between reads. I had fun with it.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.