A widow and divorcée team up to buy a Victorian mansion atop a scenic sea cliff; little do they know their guests will include ghosts and murderers.
A lighthearted mystery, from Marlowe, a pseudonym for Gloria Kruszka (Return to Love, 2016, etc.), that slowly simmers its plot and characters in a natural, unhurried manner. The story follows Eleanor Lela Menard and Maggie Foster as they investigate the house and its environs, decide to buy it, discuss and implement the various renovations, come up with the name the “Inn at Raven’s Crest,” and research the house’s somewhat disturbing history of tragedy and fleeing owners. Marlowe is a master of detail, explaining everything from the dishes they cook to the finer points of restoration. The first sign of something amiss occurs when Maggie thinks she sees someone looking out of a fourth-floor window. Such incidents escalate to rearranged boxes, the feel of hands in the shower, and other increasingly spectral shenanigans, culminating in seeing the various spirits that inhabit Raven’s Crest. After the women discover they can communicate with the ghosts using a digital voice recorder (turning up the volume to decipher their nearly inaudible voices), they begin playing Cupid between long-dead lovers and peacemaker for all who haunt their home. Perhaps most unique about this book, aside from the sociable ghosts, is that the ghosts are not the main story. That, it turns out, is the tale of a flesh-and-blood killer picking off the living guests during a storm that has cut the house off from the rest of the world—but that killer may be thwarted by otherworldly forces. Naturally, the guests are a motley assemblage of suspicious characters. But Marlowe breathes life into this well-worn scenario, not just with the use of spirit helpers, but by making even the most minor characters real and empathetic.
This fun mystery is perfect for supernatural and whodunits fans.