This story is a fun cozy mystery with a hint of the paranormal and plenty of small-town charm. The somewhat macabre vocation of handling funerals is complicated when the ‘dearly departed’ won’t depart, and that provides an unusual twist to the story that includes plenty of quirky folks and an intrepid heroine who obviously has learned some of her chutzpah from her moped-riding grandmother. The gradual increase in ‘clients’ and the accompanying complications makes the story get more and more frenetic and the emotional hurdles that pull at Emma Lee leaven her somewhat wacky approach to the investigation. There are great elements of humor (somehow I don’t believe I have ever encountered a ghost with such toupee challenges in the stories I have read, lol) that balance the drama and mystery and I had no trouble reading this as a stand-alone story, despite the threads that connect to action that has taken place earlier in the series. This was a great light read and I look forward to reading more about this remarkably talented heroine and the other folks in Sleepy Hollow.
“A Ghostly Murder” by Tonya Kappes is part of the ‘Ghostly Southern Mystery’ series that features Emma Lee Raines, who balances her duties running a funeral home with solving mysteries for…murdered ghosts. Accepting (harangued into accepting) the task of determining who killed wealthy Mamie Sue Preston, Emma Lee struggles to keep anyone besides hunky boyfriend Sheriff Jack Henry Raines from figuring out that she is able to speak to ghosts, not wanting to be accused of continuing to suffer from ‘Funeral Trauma’. Throw in competition with a rival funeral home, indications her beloved grandma is resorting to theft, and inklings that her romantic relationship may face the biggest test of all, and Emma Lee will be too busy to keep the funeral home spruced up and earning new business, let alone find a way to look her personal best. Fortunately, there may be a solution, if she can take the advice of a ghost—however self-serving the advice may be. Now, if only the rest of Emma Lee’s issues can be solved so easily and she can stay alive long enough to take care of things.
Emma Lee Raines knows there’s only one cure for a bad case of murder.
I told you I was sick, reads the headstone above Mamie Sue Preston’s grave. She was the richest woman in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, and also the biggest hypochondriac. Ironic, considering someone killed her-and covered it up perfectly. And how does Emma Lee Raines, proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, know all this? Because Mamie Sue’s ghost told her, that’s how. And she’s offering big bucks to find the perp.
The catch is, Mamie Sue was buried by the Raines family’s archrival, Burns Funeral Home. Would the Burnses stoop to framing Emma Lee’s granny? With an enterprising maid, a penny-pinching pastor, and a slimy Lexington lawyer all making a killing off Mamie Sue’s estate, Emma Lee needs a teammate-like her dreamboat boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross. Because with millions at stake, snooping around is definitely bad for Emma Lee’s health.