Books and Musings from Downunder

Ghost in Trouble by Carolyn Hart


Finished:  30/01/11

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Rated: B

Opening Sentence:    ‘…I lounged on a deckchair, comfortable in an orange polka-dot bikini…’

GHOST IN TROUBLE is the third in Carolyn Hart’s delightful cosy mystery series featuring the late Bailey Ruth.  Bailey Ruth died some time back and her and her husband are enjoying all the delights that heaven has to offer.  Well her husband is, Bailey Ruth yearns to do something useful with her eternity, so she joins the Department of Good Intentions as an Heavenly emissary which gives her the opportunity to go back to earth and help people in trouble.  There are rules, or precepts, that Bailey Ruth has to follow as an emissary, trouble is she has problems complying to some of them – well most of them really! Her enthusiasm to get the job done sometimes overwhelms her sincere desire to obey the precepts to do with avoid to be seen, heard or generally interacting directly with those who are still living.  As with the previous two books in the series, this time is no exception.

Bailey Ruth is sent back to her hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma to save the life of Kay Clark, a woman she had an argument with when she was alive. Bailey Ruth’s formed the opinion that Kay had had an affair with the husband of one of her good friends. This was true, but not in the way Bailey Ruth thought.  Kay is back in town because the man that she had an affair with, Jack Hume, has died in a tragic accident, he had a fatal tumble downstairs from the balcony. Kay suspects he was pushed to his death. Bailey Ruth arrives on earth just in time to save Kay from being killed by a falling pot.  Kay and Bailey Ruth now figure that Jack’s death was not accidental and Kay has attracted the attention of the killer. But who among the wealthy Hume family, and friends, had a motive to kill Jack? They very quickly realise just about everyone in the family – and few outside the family has a motive.  While Bailey Ruth and Kay snoop around, Bailey Ruth tries really hard to avoid being seen or heard.

While a cosy, GHOST IN TROUBLE is an engrossing mystery with a delightful cast of characters.  Carolyn Hart tells her story well, taking the reader through the list of suspects, giving you insight into each of them and their possible motives.  The paranormal aspects are well done as Bailey Ruth zips from place to place, can go straight through a ceiling, choose what “age” she wants to be, and can appear and disappear at will .  As funny as the story can be in parts, Carolyn Hart never lost sight of the fact that murders, yes there are more than one, have been committed. She built the tension nicely and kept me on the edge of my seat, not knowing who did it until it was revealed at the very satisfactory ending.