A Ghostly Undertaking: A Ghostly Southern Mystery by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Undertaking: A Ghostly Southern Mystery by Tonya Kappes
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (304 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

A funeral, a ghost, a murder . . . It’s all in a day’s work for emma lee raines . . .

Bopped on the head from a falling plastic Santa, local undertaker Emma Lee Raines is told she’s suffering from “funeral trauma.” It’s trauma all right, because the not-so-dearly departed keep talking to her. Take Ruthie Sue Payne—innkeeper, gossip queen, and arch-nemesis of Emma Lee’s granny—she’s adamant that she didn’t just fall down those stairs. She was pushed.

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This book was a fascinating read. What first grabbed my attention was Emma Lee’s encounter with a Santa. From what was described, I think she should have died. Instead, she came out of the encounter with a new ability, a talent that won’t be denied. Her gift makes her come across as daffy but Emma Lee is anything but.

A Ghostly Undertaking is definitely a cozy mystery with a little bit of romance thrown in that kept this romance reader happy. I did a mental happy dance at the moment where the ‘sweet’ heat happens. I don’t mind that the romance is only background to the solving of the mystery. The fact that it’s there made reading about Jack Henry and Emma Lee much more rounded, interesting, and engendered a soft sentiment to an otherwise very serious situation.

One of the elements that made this novel fun to read was the relationships between the townspeople and the humor surrounding them. Everyone had quirks and Ms. Kappes created characters who, by virtue of their individual idiosyncrasies, contributed to the flavor of this very small town called Sleepy Hollow.

The twists and turns of the investigation kept me guessing. I fell for the red herrings the author threw in because they not only made sense to the heroine, but they seemed logical to me too. I was intrigued with the different interpretations from the points of view of both the sheriff, Jack Henry, and Emma Lee. She gathered clues using her new ‘talent’ and he used the tried and true investigative techniques of law enforcement. Between the two of them, the puzzle pieces are discovered but what amazed me even more is how both interpreted them as a whole. One thing that was not discovered or explored is why in the world Jack Henry accepted Emma Lee’s ability so easily? He was surprisingly lackadaisical about it, and he didn’t seem surprised one iota with her revelation about Ruthie. Why is that? I hope to someday find out.

The solving of who-done-it was exciting and clever but the best thing? I didn’t even have a clue. So many secrets abounded in Emma Lee’s home town and the end of the novel teased me with one more. It’s a good thing there are already multiple books in the series, because I don’t have to wait to read the next one like early fans did. I can’t wait to find out about the chicken.

If you haven’t discovered the Ghostly Southern Mystery series yet, you’re in for a treat. A Ghostly Undertaking is a book with a clever hook and I’m happily caught.