Penelope McClure is a young widow who leaves the high-powered world of New York publishing for her small hometown, where her aunt needs help reviving the family business, a bookstore. Little does anyone know that the ghost of a 1949 murder victim resides in the building, but it is well known that the private eye Jack Shephard was killed there. Penelope discovers the ghost because of her surprising, and initially disturbing, ability to converse with him in her mind. When another murder occurs in the bookstore--a murder that involves the memory of Jack Shephard--Jack helps her to solve it and also avoid being arrested for it.
The present-day murder victim is the author of crime thrillers who knew Jack Shephard in the 1940's and has taken some of his PI stories as a basis for his novels. He is a has-been writer who has recently achieved new popularity because of the freshness of his latest books. He has chosen Penelope's store for a significant announcement during his book tour--that he will end the series based on Jack Shephard--and turn to non-fiction. His arrival at the store is with an entourage, and it exposes his own unlikable character to Penelope and others, all of which causes confusion to ensue. When he gags to death after a drink of water and a characteristic shot of throat spray, all those who played a part in setting up the event are made suspects.
This report prepared by Blanche
Berkley, Feb 2004, 5.99, 272 pp.
After her husband died, Penelope Thornton-McClure's in-laws wanted to keep her under their thumb so they can raise Calvin's son in the manner that is expected of their brood. When Pen's Aunt Sadie informs her that she's closing her bookstore in Quindicott, Rhode Island, her niece uses the insurance money to escape from her golden cage and invest in the bookstore.
After a thorough remodeling, Pen persuades famous mystery writer Timothy Brennan to do a book signing in their store on the first stop of his tour. His series is based on a hardboiled private detective Jack Shepard who mysteriously disappeared in 1949, but is now haunting the bookstore that Pen owns because that is where he was murdered. The only person who can communicate with him is the unbelieving Pen. Events make her believe in him and she even takes his advice when Timothy is killed in her bookstore and she is one of the prime suspects. Together they try to figure out who the real killer is before Pen is charged with murder.
THE GHOST AND MRS. MCLURE is a charming, funny and quirky mystery starring a suppressed widow and a stimulating ghost who is attracted to her even though they can only meet in her dreams. His is hard boiled in the tradition of Phillip Marlowe and she is a genteel Miss Marple; yet the two opposites make an explosive combination. Alice Kimberly definitely has a hit series if the first book is anything to go by.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner