Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mystery Book Review: How to Marry a Ghost by Hope McIntyre

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of How to Marry a Ghost by Hope McIntyre. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.How to Marry a Ghost by Hope McIntyre

How to Marry a Ghost by Hope McIntyre
A Lee Bartholomew Mystery

Mysterious Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-89296-014-0 (0892960140)
ISBN-13: 978-0-89296-014-9 (9780892960149)
Publication Date: January 2007
List Price: $24.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Londoner Lee Bartholomew is a loner by nature who prefers to live vicariously through other people. Content with her job as a ghostwriter, Lee is always eager to coax secrets and scandals from showbiz personalities and sports greats. And ghosting writing former rock star Shotgun Marriott's autobiography could be the plum job of her career-if he reveals what really happened one tragic night.

Leaving the comforts of home, Lee travels to New York to attend her mother's wedding to a rich American businessman. Yet she's also there for an even more important gig-an interview with Shotgun to write his story. Cruising along the beach on the tip of Long Island, Lee stumbles upon a newsbreaking story when the body of a man wearing a wedding dress washes ashore. Even more shocking is that the man is Shotgun's estranged son.

But fear soon strikes her after another killing hits much closer to home. Now the darkness around her lonely beach house seems alive with prying eyes and malevolent visitors. As for Shotgun Marriott, he's a charming, talented rogue who's also lying through his teeth. And probing too deeply into his dark world may be last thing Lee ever does …

Review: Ghostwriter Nathalie "Lee" Bartholomew travels from London to the Hamptons in her second mystery, How to Marry a Ghost by Hope McIntyre, to interview for the opportunity to write the autobiography of legendary rock star Christopher "Kip" Marriott, also known as Shotgun Marriott to the media and his fans. Her primary reason to visit to the US, however, is to attend the commitment ceremony of her Mother to Philip Abernathy, her beau of 6 months, a local billionaire whom Lee has dubbed the "Phillionaire". It is, perhaps, mere coincidence that Shotgun and the Phillionaire are neighbors.

Soon after Lee gets settled in the area two murders occur. The first is the discovery of the body of Shotgun's estranged son who has washed up on shore, wearing, somewhat inexplicably, a wedding dress. The second is of Lee's rival in the ghostwriting business, Bettina Pleshette, whose body is found in the woods near the edge of Shotgun's estate. The most likely suspect in both murders is Shotgun himself, yet Lee discovers there may be other reasons why someone would want these two people dead.

How to Marry a Ghost is a complex mystery that has a promising start but will likely lose some readers along the way. The murders take place very early in the book, yet the story meanders for long periods without any obvious effort to bring about a resolution to the crimes. The author deserves credit for creating an intricate plot with generally interesting characters and atmospheric settings, and those willing to stick with it will be rewarded in the end. But the many tangential subplots, and especially the seemingly endless, largely irrelevant, and at its best, wearisome storyline about Lee and her on-again/off-again relationship with Tommy, make the book feel far longer than it really is.

Special thanks to Hachette Book Group USA for providing an ARC of How to Marry a Ghost for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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