Monday, December 22, 2014

Paranormal, Mysterious, Romantic -- and Southern! Rose Pressey, IF YOU'VE GOT IT, HAUNT IT

The line of romantic mysteries that Kensington Books keeps expanding might have been designed exactly for this time of year: Lay down the to-do list, mix a cup of cocoa or spiced cider or tea, and curl up with a frivolous book that's easy to read, with a mystery to solve, and -- no changes or stress as a result! Well, except maybe in terms of potato chips (smile).

IF YOU'VE GOT IT, HAUNT IT was released at the start of December, and at least one retailer is out of stock already -- which I think is good evidence that other readers also are reaching for Rose Pressey's form of relaxation. The author of some 10 series before this new one -- which is "A Haunted Vintage Mystery" -- Pressey lives in Kentucky and enjoys tossing ghosts, vampires, and occult twists into her Southern-style page-turners. This newest one features Cookie Chanel, owner of a vintage clothing store, where elegant designer clothes from decades past are paired with classic bags and shoes, and there are also memorable "play clothes" like pedal pushers and mini skirts.

Cookie's sudden acquisition, as she's shopping an estate sale for stock items, is a ghost: the elegant and always classy ghost of Charlotte Meadows. Meadows has clearly been murdered -- the police and the paper both say so -- but in ghost form, she can't name her killer, only her determination to have Cookie track down the criminal. It's definitely not Cookie's style to go investigating! But it looks like the only way she'll unload this haunting (Charlotte even climbs onto Cookie's bed, and at other moments interferes with her new flirtation!) is to find the killer and solve the crime. It's downright embarrassing to be noticed talking to a ghost that nobody else can see!

Fashion and flair and stubbornness all help Cookie track the clues and sort out means and motive. The presence of a cute detective who keeps dropping by to visit is another thread of plot in this quick and clever mystery. And when all the strands finally come together, it looks like Cookie has a lot lined up for the future -- from the detective, to the psychic cat that's also joined her.

Will Charlotte the well-dressed ghost continue to haunt Cookie, once justice is measured out? Hard to tell -- I might have to check the next book in the series, just to be sure. If you're looking for frivolous fun, add this one to the nice side of your list. And make the most of the holidays with plenty of time curled up with another book!

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