It won’t be long before the frost is on the pumpkin, so in an industrious moment I’ve put together a short list of mysteries with ghosts and other paranormal creatures. Nothing scary.
P. J. Alderman – Jordan Marsh was to start her life over in an old Victorian house she has purchased in Port Chatham, WA (Port Townsend in disguise), but life gets complicated when the two ghosts that inhabit her new home get her involved in murder, suspense and even romance. Light cozies with humour; the series starts with Haunting Jordan.
Mignon Ballard – Angel at Troublesome Creek is the first of Ballard’s cozy series featuring Augusta Goodnight. The series is very typical of whimsical cozies, but its great redeeming feature is Augusta, a spunky Guardian Angel you’ll love.
L. L. Bartlett – Jeff Resnick is a former insurance investigator living in Buffalo, NY. He was mugged and badly injured. Since the mugging he has developed psychic abilities and sees things (like murders) before they happen. Murder on the Mind is the first in a series that is slightly too edgy to call cozy.
Mike Carey – Felix Castor has been able to talk to ghosts since he was a child, so it was easy for him to become an exorcist in London, England. He is able to form a bond with them and send them to a final peace, but after a very bad experience he’d like a job change. It’s not going to happen. Felix has a dry, British sense of humour. This is a series for all the Harry Dresden fans. Great characters mark the series that begins with The Devil You Know.
Lee Driver – Driver has created a very strong series featuring Detective Chase Digger and Sarah Morningsky, who happens to be a shape-shifter. The books have a very ‘real’ feel to them, as opposed to having a ‘fantasy’ feel. They are good mysteries with lots of twists and surprise endings. Begin the series with The Good Die Twice.
Carolyn Haines – Sarah Booth Delaney, in Zinnia, Mississippi, was raised to be a good Southern “Daddy’s Girl”, but she has broken the rules by remaining unmarried and by being happy about it. Her house has a Southern ghost that is a bit quirky. Them Bones is the first in this cozy series.
Alice Kimberley – There are lots of ghosts in this column, but none like Jack Shepard, a hard-boiled, Manhattan gumshoe who was shot and killed 50 years ago, outside the bookshop that Penelope Thornton-McClure now owns. Penelope is everything a cozy mystery heroine should be, and Jack is everything opposite. It really works. Start with The Ghost and Mrs. McClure.
Wendy Roberts – Remains of the Dead will introduce you to Sadie Novak, who operates a cleaning company that specializes in cleaning up after violent or unattended death. She begins seeing ghosts, one of whom tells her that the police “have it all wrong”. Naturally, Sadie gets involved. The concept of the series is unique and interesting and Roberts handles it very well. There are strong, multi-dimensional characters, good dialogue and while it is sometimes predictable there are also moments of surprising twists. (Some ‘cleaning’ scenes might be a bit graphic for a few people.)