Author: Sue Ann Jaffarian
Publisher: Midnight Ink, 2009
Paperback, 312 pages
Genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #1 Ghost of Granny Apples mystery
Source: Purchased from Bookmans.
First Line: "Mom went to a séance last night."
It's not been a good year for 44-year-old Emma Whitecastle. Her television celebrity jerk of a husband decided to trade her in for a newer model who's more compliant about plastic surgery, and now he's dragging out the divorce. Her beloved Aunt Kitty has died. To top it all off, Emma goes to a séance as a favor to her friend, and the psychic insists that there's a spirit trying to get in touch with her. Come to find out, the psychic is right. You see, Emma discovers that she can see and hear spirits, and Granny Apples is demanding her help.
Tiny Granny Apples is the ghost of 42-year-old Ish Reynolds, Emma's great-great-great-grandmother, and the woman was hung because she was believed to be the murderer of her husband. Granny Apples emphatically proclaims her innocence and insists that Emma help her. Once Emma decides that she hasn't lost her last marble, she finds herself packing her bags and going to Julian, California-- a small town that came to being during the Gold Rush and the home of Granny Apples. It doesn't take her long to stir up the natives-- both living and dead.
It was refreshing to read a book about a woman in her forties who's intelligent, funny, and full of common sense. Not only that, but she's surrounded by a loving family and close friends. Even though she's going through a nasty divorce and not at all sure about the whole seeing ghosts thing, this is not an angst-filled character, so the reader can just relax and have a fun and very enjoyable read.
Emma's journey to the acceptance of her "gift" is a good one for anyone who's not enamored of a lot of "woo-woo" in the books they read, and the cast of supporting characters are very well drawn-- especially feisty little Granny Apples and lawyer/rancher Phil Bowers. There's even a bit of history thrown in for good measure, and this all adds up to a very good read.
Now I have to get my hands on the next book in the series, Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini. Something tells me that Granny Apples will be keeping Emma busy!