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The Ghost and the Femme Fatale Review

In this 4th haunted bookshop mystery, Penelope (Pen) Thornton-McClure continues to expand the horizons of the Cranberry Street bookstore she and her Aunt Sadie co-own in her hometown of Quindicott, Rhode Island. The ghost of PI Jack Shepard continues to inhabit the building, and Pen's dreams, drawing the two closer than they could have ever imagined.

Pen and her son Spencer moved back to her hometown after her husband committed suicide, rather than stay trapped under the influence of her wealthy and domineering in-laws. She joined her Aunt Sadie Thornton, and upgraded their independent bookstore, Buy the Book, with great success. She added a Community Events room that has provided much needed meeting space, as well as a number of other changes bringing in customers by the busload.

When an old friend, J. Brainert Parker, a leading member of the group that renovated an old movie house decides to hold a noir film festival during the theater's grand opening, Pen is placed in charge of the book signings and discussions. A number of special guests are invited, actors who played a role in noir films and authors who wrote in the genre, drawing a large crowd of fans to the opening.

When Hedda Geist, one of the famous guests, is involved in an on-stage accident, Pen soon suspects there is more to the story than first appears. As the body count begins to rise, local law enforcement suspects Pen of playing a role in the murders. She and Jack decide they need to take action before Pen is locked up for good.

When they realize that a long ago unsolved case of Jack's plays a role in the current mayhem, they work to solve the mysteries, both past and present.

Cleo Coyle, a husband and wife team writing as Alice Kimberly, has created a fascinating ghostly series. The relationship between Jack and Pen drives the stories. Although the reader understands he is just a ghost, he becomes a real live character as he interacts with Pen. They have developed a smooth companionable relationship that proves especially touching during her dreams.

Each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone, but reading the complete series from the beginning shows the growing relationships of old and new friends from Pen's arrival in Quindicott to the present day. Fans of the series will become as familiar and comfortable with those who visit the bookstore as do Pen and her family.

This book is a fun and enjoyable cozy mystery that will soon have fans longing for more.

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