The Ghosts of Misty Hollow
A Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery #6
By Sue Ann Jaffarian
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The author of Ghost in the Guacamole returns as a spiritual medium and her spectral sidekick encounter murder and mystery in a Massachusetts farmhouse—
Mysterious plots abound when spiritual medium Emma Whitecastle offers aid to a famous novelist, but her spectral sidekick Granny Apples will help her write all the wrongs.
Bestselling crime writer Gino Costello is working on his next book in a historic farmhouse in the heart of Massachusetts. His story features some paranormal elements so he’s invited family friend Emma to provide her input as a medium. But as soon as Emma arrives—with her boyfriend, Phil, and Granny Apples in tow—that’s when the real trouble begins.
Emma is immediately contacted by the Browns, a family of ghosts who originally owned the house in the early nineteenth century. They need Emma to help them locate the spirits of their two children who disappeared. Meanwhile, a dead body appears at the house. Now Emma, Granny, and Phil must read between the lines to find answers before a killer books it…(from Goodreads)
What a delightfully funny and fascinating cozy mystery! This is the first Granny Apples mystery I’ve read, and I do hope to read more! As a ‘skeptic’, I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I began to read, but was drawn in by the warm and intelligent couple, Emma and Phil, then Gino, a best selling novelist who they go to visit. Emma has a television show about paranormal activity, and her fiance Phil is an attorney and rancher. Gino and his wife Vanessa know Phil and Emma as Gino’s daughter and Emma’s daughter are very close friends. Emma and Phil have been invited to the home Gino and Vanessa are renting in a beautiful New England rural area so Gino can pick Emma’s brain about paranormal activity for a novel he is planning to write.
When they arrive, they meet Gino’s assistant, Leroy, who has a certain charm while being…just not quite right. Marta, the cook and housekeeper Vanessa brought from their Chicago home is a quiet, industrious woman who seems afraid to meet Emma’s eyes and rubs her crucifix around her. Vanessa is anything but the loving wife to Gino, whining about being out in the country with nothing to do. It isn’t long until they find that Granny Apples has joined them. Granny Apples is Emma’s great-great-great-grandmother who continues to return and enjoy the lives of Emma and her daughter. As a ‘ghost whisperer’, Emma can see and hear Granny but Phil cannot.
Waiting to greet Emma are the ghosts who she learns are family members who had lived on the property when it was still in their family. The property has well over a century of history; Gino shows Emma and Phil a photo album that includes the original farm house and the main home which had been renovated by a former owner. The ghosts who currently are on the property are seeking the “twins”, children of Nana Abby, Chester and Clarissa, who had disappeared when they were only eight. It was never certain whether they were kidnapped or murdered, but they had never ‘crossed over’. Abby and her grandson Blaine, the primary spokesperson, continue to search for them, wanting to bring the twins safely across so the family will be together. While Emma has helped solve many mysteries, a cold case from over 100 years earlier and the only helpers being ghosts proved a challenge even for her.
Gino’s wife left the morning following Emma and Phil’s arrival. Due to a family emergency, Marta left for a couple days, then Leroy went away to see a friend. A morning after Vanessa, Marta, and Leroy left, Emma and Phil were out for an early morning run and saw a vehicle at the old farmhouse. Upon further exploration, they found the murdered body of a man they didn’t recognize. After several hours of crime scene work, the police were only able to learn the name of the man who was unknown also by the owner of the property.
With the help of Fran, a local medium and retired librarian, Heddy, a retired teacher, Granny Apples and the family ghosts, Gino, Emma and Phil hope to solve the cold case of the missing twins – and find out who the flesh and blood bad guy is before he takes someone else out.
Emma, Phil and Granny Apples are developed very well; even though this is the sixth in the series, I felt as if they were easy to get to know. Gino and those they meet in rural Massachusetts were defined as well as necessary for their roles. Part of the fun of getting to know them, I think, is seeing how Emma and Granny could interact, also the ghosts at the farm, and how that looks to someone ‘outside’ the family. Gino must have felt conflicting emotions as he watched Emma carry out a conversation with someone he couldn’t see or hear, but Phil has become quite used to it.
The plot is intriguing! It was interesting to see how Emma was there to help Gino learn more about paranormal activity should he want to use it in his novel, and how he learned enough to write more than one novel! It was also fun to see how feisty Granny Apples is for a woman of her ‘time’ while the ghosts on the property are much less outspoken. I enjoy reading about or watching cold case resolution, and this was certainly different from any I’ve seen! The bad guy/ gal who murdered the stranger in the old farmhouse was probably more challenging to discover until some of the layers of deception were peeled away. I like mysteries that are hard to solve, so in many ways this has been a most pleasant reading venture. I highly recommend it! And as it is a ‘clean’ mystery, it can be enjoyed by older teens as well as adults of any age.