The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

The Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
4 out of 5 stars (173 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first Haunted Bookshop mystery from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle, writing as Alice Kimberly

Young widow Penelope Thornton-McClure and her old Aunt Sadie are making ends meet by managing a mystery book shop - a quaint Rhode Island landmark rumored to be haunted. Pen may not believe in ghosts, but she does believe in good publicity - like nabbing Timothy Brennan for a book signing. But soon after the bestselling thriller writer reveals a secret about the store's link to a 1940s murder, he keels over dead - and right in the middle of the store's new community events space.

Who gives Mrs. McClure the first clue that it was murder? The bookstore's full-time ghost - a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago. Is he a figment of Pen's overactive imagination? Or is the oddly likable fedora-wearing specter the only hope Pen has to solve the crime? You can bet your everlasting life on it.

©2004 The Berkley Publishing Group. (P)2018 Blackstone Publishing
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great new series

I love Cleo Coyle’s coffeeehouse series and thought I would give this one a try. I want disappointed! I highly recommend this book if you like cozy mysteries. I just purchased the second and third book of the series.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent new concept

Cleo Coyle has crafted another great series with the Ghost and Mrs. McClure series. I recommend this book to cozy mystery fans.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Creative take of a ghost detective

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Cleo Coyle, Penelope Thornton-McClure, recently widowed when her husband jumped from their building, has returned to her hometown of Quindecot, Rhode Island to help her Aunt Sadie try to save the family bookstore, which they rename Buy the Book. Pen, as she is known, is thrilled to get famous author Timothy Brennan to come to their bookstore on his tour to promote his newest book, Shield of Justice, featuring Detective Jack Shield, based upon 1940s detective Jack Shepard, who disappeared 50 years earlier. As the abrasive, selfish author wreaks havoc in the store getting things set up in his own style, Pen starts to hear a voice heckle Brennan. But no one else hears the voice. This is because she is hearing Jack Shepherd, long- dead and last seen at the family bookstore.

Then during the author reading, Brennan takes a drink of water handed in a bottle to him by Pen. But upon drinking the water, Brennan starts to choke and soon dies. After being served hard liquor by her aunt to help her deal with the shock, Pen ends up drunk and having a shocking conversation with the dead Jack Shepherd, who can hear her thoughts and transmit his own thoughts to her, for the first time ever. However, he cannot leave the property where he was murdered, so as the case progresses and it becomes evident that the police suspect Pen of what they have come to realize was a murder, Jack gives her advice to do her own investigation. Together, they combine their gifts to solve the murder.

I have to confess that I started The Ghost and Mrs. McClure with only medium- level expectations, not having been deeply impressed by another book by the same author and not always liking paranormal mysteries. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much I enjoyed this one. The plot had some creative points, and I liked the angle that Pen knows details about the case that she has learned from Jack, meaning that she can’t tell anyone about these clues. Thus, she has to find other ways to learn the same information.

I found myself connecting with the characters in this book, though Jack’s constant slang from the 40s eventually gets annoying, especially since he tends to repeat the same terms the whole time. I also appreciated the way mystery novels changed Pen’s grieving and sullen son, Spencer into a boy more eager about learning and his mother’s business at the bookstore.

Caroline Shaffer performs the chapters narrated by Pen, while Traber Burns performs the chapters written in 3rd person about the experiences of Jack. It feels a little strange and disjointed to use the two different narrators, whose voices don’t mesh well together. Individually, each does a good job, but I thought they didn’t fir well together.

I had a good time listening to The Ghost and Mrs. McClure. I appreciated the fun details found throughout this book and which kept me listening avidly. I definitely intend to listen to the next book in the series. I give this book five stars.

7 people found this helpful

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Ghostly Fun

Truly enjoyable read, you can envision the hard nose detective, and discriptions of the main character and town people were very vivid. Will certainly read more books from this author.

2 people found this helpful

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Pretty good

I had my doubts about this book, but, I'm glad I took a chance on it. The characters and plot are well developed.

5 people found this helpful

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Easy listening, cute story.

I am a fan of Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse Mysteries and I decided to try this series. I'm glad I did. The story was interesting and the period dialogue is funny to me. I plan to continue the series.

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A fun new cozy!

I really love the work of Cleo Coyle so I was excited for this installment as it was a new series to me. The supernatural aspect isn’t overdone or strange. It feels fun, and they’re a banter between Pen & her ghost that makes the story fun. If you like Cleo’s other work you’ll love this

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Hauntingly Good

A sweet read, very well done. I am looking forward to the next book!

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Two distinct voices narrate this delightful story

I almost did not listen to this book, yet I am so glad that I did. As I switched on this audio version of the first in the haunted bookshop mysteries, a gruff male voice began talking. I disliked his tone and his style. Then a female voice continued, and her voice was pleasant and used present day syntax. What we had was two distinct voices narrating this delightful story. The male voice is that of Jack Shepard, the private investigator killed in 1949 in the bookstore that 30-something Penelope “Pen” Thornton McClure now owned with her aunt Sadie. Buy the Book was renovated when Penelope invested the insurance money from her husband’s suicide into the store, relocating with her son Spencer to the Quindicott, Rhode Island store from Manhattan. The construction crews had not scared away the ghost in residence.

Pen has the honor of launching bestselling author Timothy Brennan’s newest entry in his Jack Shield mystery series based loosely on Jack Shepard’s life. Pen is disappointed to find the author rude, pompous, and unpleasant. While speaking, Brennan reveals that Jack Shepard was actually murdered in that very store. Then Brennan keels over dead! During Brennan’s speech, Pen believes she hears a heckler in the crowd, and she hears the same voice later that evening. She isn’t quite sure who this gruff fellow is, telling her she’s a doll. He’s speaking in 1940s English filled with very different slang. Putting together what Jack is telling her now with what she learned from Brennan’s speech, she realizes that she is talking with Jack Shephard, the ghost, speaking silently, in her head, where no one else can hear him.

Strange events begin to unfold as the store sells every copy of Brennan’s book including the 600 more copies ordered at the last minute. The town is crowded with tourists. The police have asked Brennan’s daughter and son-in-law, on hand for the signing, to stay in town pending the medical examiner’s findings. Brennan’s publicist and her assistant stay as well. With Jack’s help, Pen begins to piece together facts uncovered on a “dark and stormy night.” The two bounce ideas around together and separately, ultimately solving, and then guiding others, to the murders.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I liked it far beyond my initial impression, since I was confused by this gruff voice much as Pen was. I found the juxtaposition of noir, small town issues, the hopes of a store owner, and the paranormal very appealing. I am very much looking forward to the next entry in the haunted bookshop mysteries.

1 person found this helpful

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An old favorite.

A wonderful cozy mystery. The Ghost and Mrs. McClure meets Sam Spade. Once you start reading them you’re hooked.