Ghost to the Rescue
A Bailey Ruth Ghost Novel #4
By Carolyn Hart
Author’s website: carolynhart.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
When you wish upon a star, you get…Bailey Ruth? You do if you’re a little girl whose mom needs help and you touch the soft heart of Supervisor Wiggins at Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions. Granted it’s not the usual task of an emissary, but then again Bailey Ruth is not your usual emissary. So Wiggins dispatches the spunky spirit to her old hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma, to help a single mother and struggling writer find some creative solutions to her problems.
Deidre Davenport is just about broke, trying to support her two children, and has her hopes pinned on getting a faculty job with the Goddard College English department. Jay Knox, who is in charge of the writer’s conference she’s participating in, will decide who gets the job, but he’s more interested in her body than her body of work.
Not long after his advances are rejected, Knox turns up dead—and Deirdre’s fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. Bailey Ruth knows Deirdre is innocent, and that the professor’s lewd behavior is bound to have rubbed others the wrong way. Now she must find out who really knocked off Knox…if Deirdre and her family are ever going to have a happy ending.
It is easy to like Bailey Ruth, the charming ghost with the big heart.
When Chief Wiggins, of Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions, hears young Katie wish upon a star asking for help for her mom Deirdre, he cannot help but feel compelled to send emissary Bailey Ruth to the rescue. Bailey Ruth is not exactly the ideal representative since she has trouble following the rules, but Deirdre is in Bailey Ruth’s hometown and really could use some assistance. She is a single mom and published writer but currently has no money coming in. She is attending a weekend writers’ conference sponsored by the college where she hopes to get a position with the English Department. The decision is solely up to faculty member Jay Knox, and he is used to not having to play by the rules when it suits him. He has made it clear to Deirdre that she needs to “put out” to secure the job. Bailey Ruth arrives at Deirdre’s room just in time to interrupt Jay’s advances.
Bailey Ruth thinks it will be easy to ensure that Deidre gets the job, but things become much harder when Jay is found dead, and Deirdre is named the prime suspect. Bailey Ruth must help finger the real murderer before the police charge Deirdre. There are plenty of suspects to garner – Deirdre’s competition for the job, Jay’s agent, his editor, a former student, a jilted girlfriend, and fellow professors. Everyone has his/her own motivations to commit the crime, but it all really boils down to the fact that Jay was not the nicest, most upstanding of men.
I always enjoy my visits with Bailey Ruth. Things are guaranteed not to go as she plans. She really does mean well even though she cannot seem to follow all of the Precepts, such as not appearing to people, that go along with her mission as an ambassador from Heaven. She cares as much about her charges as she does her wardrobe, but I confess that at times I found the endless descriptions of clothing and shoes to be tiresome this time around.
Though interesting and well plotted, I had a hard time initially getting into the story. Deirdre’s stress stressed me out a little, but I grew to like her as the story progressed. Her reactions to Bailey Ruth’s appearances provided several chuckle out loud moments. Ms. Hart is a talented and prolific writer, and she excels at creating characters that are realistic enough to relate to, even if they are at times broadly drawn. The struggles and circumstances are grounded in reality, but the ghostly theme provides enough levity to keep them from getting dark. I initially dismissed the perpetrator, but when he/she was revealed it seemed obvious.
Ghost to the Rescue is an amusing tale, and there is never a dull moment with Bailey Ruth around. I recommend it to Ms. Hart’s fans and to readers who enjoy a lighthearted mystery.