Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Review-- Ghost at Work

Title: Ghost at Work
Author: Carolyn Hart
ISBN: 9780060874360/ William Morrow, 2008
Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 in the Bailey Ruth series
Rating: C

First Line: Incandescent dashes of pink and gold spangled the fluffy white clouds that arched over the entrance to the Department of Good Intentions.

Bailey Ruth Raeburn and her husband, Bobby Mac, were killed in a boating accident many years ago. Bailey Ruth wants to lend a helping hand and makes an appointment with Wiggins, the man in charge of the Department of Good Intentions, which is renowned for helping those on earth who are in dire need of aid. Before Wiggins can explain all the rules and regs of her position as emissary (what you and I would call a ghost), Bailey Ruth finds herself whisked off to a house in Adelaide, Oklahoma, where the pastor's wife has just found a dead body on her porch a few days before Halloween. Bailey Ruth has to discover the identity of the killer before the pastor's wife is hauled off to jail.

This is the first book by Carolyn Hart that I've read, and I thought she added an interesting twist to the cozy mystery genre by having a ghost as the sleuth. As befits someone who's written as many books as she, Hart is quite workmanlike at delineating her characters, setting the scene, moving the plot along, and planting red herrings.

But somewhere along the line, the entire book began to lose air like a wrecked souffle. It was fun to see Bailey Ruth become acquainted with SUVs, cell phones, and computers, and for a woman known to speak and act without thinking, she naturally broke almost all of Wiggins' rules by the end of her first evening in Adelaide. But some things just didn't add up. Her lack of a corporeal body is emphasized, but why does she need to eat and sleep? Bailey Ruth keeps mentioning Bobby Mac, but we never hear a peep out of him, or see him for that matter. Are there divorces in Heaven? And why did I keep picturing Tom Bosley as Wiggins?

All in all, I'd have to say that Ghost at Work is average. Your mileage may definitely vary!


  1. I'll trust your review, Cathy, and pass it by: there are too many "A" books to be read without spending time on a "C".

    And congrats on your new awards.

  2. I haven't read this series, but I enjoyed the Annie Laurance books I've read. They're light but still fun.

  3. Thanks, Charlie! I know what you mean about "C" books. Fortunately, mine tend to be few.

    Beth--I'm glad you've enjoyed the other series. This book just aggravated me a bit too much!

  4. I read her book Death on Demand a couple of years ago and was not very impressed. Maybe I should have gone with this other series instead... or maybe I should be glad that the one I read was annoying enough to me that I haven't picked up anything by Hart since.

  5. Jen--if I were you, I think I'd be glad of the latter. :)


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