July 27th, 2021
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Summer reading in July you need to start

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Now in paperback! New York Times bestseller Cleo Coyle's "delightfully twisty" Coffeehouse Mystery


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The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait, May 2021
Haunted Bookshop Mystery #7
by Cleo Coyle

Berkley
Featuring: Penelope Thornton-McClure; Jack Shepard, PI
320 pages
ISBN: 0425251861
EAN: 9780425251867
Kindle: B08274WCLM
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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"The mystery unfolds flawlessly."

Fresh Fiction Review

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait
Cleo Coyle

Reviewed by Annie Tegelan
Posted May 6, 2021

Mystery Paranormal | Mystery Private Eye | Mystery Woman Sleuth

It’s been quite a long time since we’ve seen Penelope and Jack working side by side together. However, in the seventh installment of the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series, THE GHOST AND THE HAUNTED PORTRAIT, Cleo Coyle has penned a new adventure for them to figure out.

I’d say one of the biggest charms of this series is Jack. His cavalier attitude and expertise make him an excellent PI. However, I did find that he was the focus of this book a lot compared to Penelope. I would have liked to see Penelope working on her own a bit more and thinking things through without his help, just so we can see her character grow some more. I’m a big fan of Penelope, so I wished that there was more screen time dedicated to her alone for a bit.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this story and the teamwork they had. The mystery unfolds flawlessly, creating an interesting ride for the reader. I was especially intrigued by the paranormal aspect of this series. So if are looking for a cozy mystery series with a bit of a supernatural twist to it, then I would highly recommend THE GHOST AND THE HAUNTED PORTRAIT.

Learn more about The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait

SUMMARY

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure and her gumshoe ghost team up to solve the stunning mystery at the heart of a madwoman’s self-portrait in this all new installment from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.
 
While gathering a collection of vintage book cover paintings for a special event in her quaint Rhode Island bookshop, Penelope discovers a spooky portrait of a beautiful woman, one who supposedly went mad, according to town gossip. Seymour, the local mailman, falls in love with the haunting image and buys the picture, refusing to part with it, even as fatal accidents befall those around it. Is the canvas cursed? Or is something more sinister at work?
 
For answers, Pen turns to an otherworldly source: Jack Shepard, PI. Back in the 1940s, Jack cracked a case of a killer cover artist, and (to Pen’s relief) his spirit is willing to help her solve this mystery, even if he and his license did expire decades ago.

Excerpt

Raymond Chandler once wrote that a dead man was the best fall guy in the world because he never talked back. I begged to differ. On the other hand, there was a possibility that the “PI spirit” haunting me wasn’t real at all. That he was no more than a figment of my fervent reader’s imagination.

Any therapist would say as much. “Jack is a syndrome,” they’d proclaim. The gruff, masculine voice in my head was an alter ego, my way of coping with the stresses of modern living. This hard-boiled “ghost” was merely a distillation of all the colorful characters I’d grown up reading about in my father’s library, the kind of spirited soul who was brave enough to speak the kind of frank thoughts that I was too polite to think, let alone permit myself to say.

As far as the “stresses” of modern living, I couldn’t deny I had a few. Being a widow, I’d endured my share of grief. Now a single mom, I was raising a headstrong boy, who lately enjoyed giving me some. And as a bookseller, well, let’s just say I was still alive, though the twenty-first century sometimes seemed determined to ghost me.

“We’re not dead yet!” my aunt Sadie Thornton liked to declare, usually in a Monty Python accent with a cheeky twinkle in her Yankee eye.

 


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