A Ghostly Light
Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, Book #7
By Juliet Blackwell
Author’s website: www.Julietblackwell.net
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
When her friend Alicia hires Turner Construction to renovate a historic lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay, Mel Turner can’t wait to get her hands dirty. Alicia plans to transform the island property into a welcoming inn, and while Mel has never attempted a project so ambitious—or so tall—before, she’s definitely up for the challenge.
But trouble soon arises when Alicia’s abusive ex-husband shows up to threaten both her and Mel, and later turns up dead at the base of the lighthouse stairs. With no other suspects in sight, things start looking choppy for Alicia. Now, if Mel wants to clear her friend’s name, she’ll need the help of the lighthouse’s resident ghosts to shine a light on the real culprit.
A Ghostly Light, the seventh book In the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series, is the best book to date. A somewhat isolated lighthouse setting, buried treasure, a touch of romance, ghosts, and a murder all mesh to make a wonderful supernatural adventure.
When Mel’s friend Alicia hires Turner Construction to refurbish a lighthouse, the keeper’s dwelling, and the outbuildings, Mel thinks she is up for the challenge. Alicia, who has done her best to put her abusive past behind her, is shocked when her ex-husband Thorn tracks her down on the island. Thorn quickly meets an untimely end, and all signs point to Alicia’s guilt. Mel is certain her friend is innocent, but proving it might be more difficult than one would think. In addition to Thorn’s murder, there is an active ghost occupying the lighthouse and causing some difficulties for the construction crew.
The historical mystery surrounding the lighthouse ghost, former keeper Ida Vigilance, is heartbreaking in origin. The parts of the book focusing on her are my favorite. The turn of the century time period, an old copy of the book Treasure Island, the maps leading to buried treasure, and the photo found in the attic all add dimension to the tale, and I love it. The present day mystery is not as strong but still has plenty of twists and turns and is quite enjoyable, too. The perpetrator came as a bit of a surprise, and the mystery resolution left me a touch sad. However, the ending of this book is quite pleasing, and I look forward to seeing where it will lead.
Mel is a woman in a man’s world. As the owner of Turner Construction she has mostly male employees, and she is completely outnumbered at home with her dad, business manager, step-son, boyfriend, and down-on-his-luck friend all under the same roof. Even the dog is a boy. None of this seems to faze her, although she longs for some privacy, and she is a strong, relatable protagonist. I like that despite her confidence, she still has challenges, most recently a debilitating fear of heights that makes her lighthouse construction site a trial. She also struggles with feeling a bit inadequate around her boyfriend Landon and fearful of her changing relationship with her step-son Caleb. See…very relatable. She handles her ability to see ghosts with grace and empathy, and I come away from this series always feeling that ghosts are plausible.
Mel’s home life is raucous and full of life. Her family and friends are colorful, each unique, and on the surface one could question their ability to all get along. But they do. I particularly like Mel’s father. He comes across as a man full of wisdom and unconditional love with a heavy dose of humor thrown in.
San Francisco, the lighthouse island in particular, is a great backdrop for the story. There is just something about lighthouses that is fascinating; they are beautiful but forlorn yet hopeful. Since the action mostly takes place on the island, I do miss the typical house renovation setting which Blackwell writes so well. It is obvious that she is knowledgeable and cares about preserving these monuments of a bygone era.
A Ghostly Light is truly a delightful read. I recommend it to fans of the series, those who like a ghost or two in their mysteries, and readers looking for well developed characters and a San Francisco setting.