Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Passion for Haunted Fashion (A Haunted Vintage Mystery #6)

Author:  Rose Pressey
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781496714640
Kensington Publishing
448 Pages
$7.99; $5.99 Amazon
May 29, 2018

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Folks say the Sugar Creek Theater is haunted.  But that doesn't scare off Cookie Chanel, owner of Georgia's chicest vintage clothing store, It's Vintage, Y'all - especially since Cookie talks to the ghost of her grandmother every day through her cat Wind Song.  Still, after she agrees to be in charge of costumers for a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, she's surprised to find the specter of a young woman in the theater, keeping watch over a trunk of 1950's dresses.  And when Cookie's best friend Heather is found standing over a stabbed actor, she has two mysteries to solve.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  A desperate killer is waiting in the wings.  If Cookie doesn't tread the boards lightly, it'll be curtains for her as well...

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Cookie Chanel, owner of a vintage clothing store, is asked to do the costumes for a local production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Sugar Creek Theater.  While in the basement she hears a scream and runs toward the stage, where she sees her friend Heather (who is in the play) standing over the body of the main actor with blood on her hands.  After calling the police she helps Heather clean herself up and eventually hears her boyfriend, homicide detective Dylan Valentine, outside the door.

After discussing what happened they naturally take Heather to the police station and Cookie waits until she can escort her home.  Realizing that Heather is the only real suspect, she knows that Heather didn't do it and decides to conduct a little investigation of her own, along with the help of her attending ghost Charlotte and her Grandma Pearl, stuck in the body of her cat Wind Song.

Also along for the ride is another ghost:  Peggy Page, a young woman who disappeared in 1956, and doesn't know what happened to her; she's been stuck in the theater since that time but doesn't know why or how she got there.  Charlotte convinces Cookie to help find the truth, and since Dylan now knows that Cookie communicates with ghosts, she vows to enlist his help if needed, too.  But will Cookie be able to find out what happened to Peggy before Heather is thrown in jail for a crime she didn't commit?  Or will Cookie, putting her own life on the line to save her friend, wind up as a ghost keeping Charlotte permanent company?

I really enjoy these books as they are quite a fun read.  I don't like paranormal books about vampires, witches, etc.; but I do love books with ghosts (as long as they're friendly) and these are written very well.  Cookie is an extremely likable character, as she's not perfect.  She has a terrific sense of style, but can't cook too well; cares about her friends but is rather klutzy.  In other words, she's an imperfect human, much like the rest of us.

As a matter of fact, she would be a lousy PI as she's prone to panic attacks (kept at bay with the help of Charlotte) and not very good at hiding herself - her main choice is bushes if she can find them - and so far has no idea how to wear disguises like the people who are usually stalking her.  Lord help her if she ever gets stuck in a desert while following a suspect!  She's not very good at thinking on her feet - when confronted with situations she just says the first thing that pops into her mind - and pretty much does whatever Charlotte pushes her to do.  Poor Cookie.  But she's still a delightful character and one that you wouldn't mind spending time with at all. 

When she does start investigating, she's very good at noticing details, which is important, and does her best to find out the truth, even when it gets her in some sticky situations.  At least she has Charlotte to help her out, but I do think that Charlotte could do a little better job without being snarky; i.e., if they hear someone out on the porch, why send Cookie out when Charlotte could just go herself and see who it is?  This is probably the only thing that bothers me about the series, but it's so minor I never let it spoil my enjoyment.

The author is very good at spinning a tale that keeps you interested throughout, and there is enough action to keep the story flowing at a nice pace.  The characters are three-dimensional and and believable; there is plenty of humor in the story to boot.  When the ending comes and the killer is revealed it is satisfying indeed.  This is a wonderful series and I enjoyed every minute of the book.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.

https://www.amazon.com/Passion-Haunted-Fashion-Vintage-Mystery/dp/1496714644/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2407838036

More on Rose Pressey's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/p/rose-pressey/

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