A Ghostly Graveby Tonya Kappes (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #2
Published by Witness on March 31, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Mystery, Paranormal
Source: Bought, Publisher
Amazon • Goodreads
I received this book for free from Bought, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
There's a ghost on the loose—and a fox in the henhouse
Four years ago, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home put Chicken Teater in the ground. Now undertaker Emma Lee Raines is digging him back up. The whole scene is bad for business, especially with her granny running for mayor and a big festival setting up in town. But ever since Emma Lee started seeing ghosts, Chicken's been pestering her to figure out who killed him.
With her handsome boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, busy getting new forensics on the old corpse, Emma Lee has time to look into her first suspect. Chicken's widow may be a former Miss Kentucky, but the love of his life was another beauty queen: Lady Cluckington, his prize-winning hen. Was Mrs. Teater the jealous type? Chicken seems to think so. Something's definitely rotten in Sleepy Hollow—and Emma Lee just prays it's not her luck.
I really enjoyed the first book in the Ghostly Southern Mysteries series, A Ghostly Undertaking, where Emma Lee Raines was introduced as an undertaker who could suddenly see a certain type of ghost after being knocked hard on the head by a plastic Santa Clause. But with the people that she’d buried in the past popping up, wanting her to help solve their murders, Emma is having a hard time appearing normal to anyone in her small town in Kentucky–even to her granny and sister. Everyone is thinking that she has what the doc has termed the “Funeral Trauma.” Luckily her handsome boyfriend Sheriff Jack Henry knows that she can actually see and hear ghosts, but even he isn’t completely comfortable when there’s a ghost around. She’s a Betweener medium, so only the ghosts of the poor souls who have been murdered come to Emma for help.
Things are getting crazy busy in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky…
Not only is the town gearing up for the annual cave festival, but a mayoral race is heating up due to the unexpected vacancy from the last mayor. Emma’s Granny decides to run against the competition–the funeral home owner across town’s arrogant and often drunk O’Dell Burns. When Granny’s keys go missing–the keys to everything like the funeral home, her scooter, the hearse, the inn–she leaves it to Emma to find them. But Emma has bigger things on her mind since the sheriff has decided to dig up the grave of Colonel Teater, a friend of Emma’s parents and whose ghost has been pestering Emma to find who killed him.
A man who loved a prize chicken more than his beauty queen wife…
Colonel “Chicken” Teater was a simple man who lived a simple life. His wife never understood that his dream of having a prize winning chicken and being on the cover of a certain magazine was all that he wanted. Even after Chicken has been dead for four years, his wife Marla Maria is still taking care of this prize chicken as per their agreement, but who else would Emma suspect of Chicken’s murder first but a wife who was jealous and hated a prize winning hen?
Emma Lee jumps into the investigation, full steam ahead…
Against Jack Henry’s wishes, Emma does some digging of her own into Chicken’s death and his wife’s current life. But as she gets closer to Marla Maria and Lady Cluckington the chicken, things become very dangerous. Emma has to endure biker bars, makeovers for beauty pageants, senior citizens doing yoga, and run-ins with her mean as all get out funeral home competition–O’Dell Burns. But Emma deals with all of these things with her usual southern grace and charm, large doses of coffee, and a huge dose of a weird sense of humor. Luckily Emma is smart and can think on her feet so she can put things together at the last second, and she needs to do this with the weird and shady characters that live around Sleepy Hollow.
I give A Ghostly Grave a 4 out of 5. With fun and quirky characters that I now expect in this series, the mystery was fast paced enough to keep me entertained throughout. I was hoping for more interaction and a bit more development in Emma and Jack Henry’s relationship, but with such a short time period that this book covers, I can see how that didn’t happen. The claustrophobic and nosy small town atmosphere was very present, and I really enjoy that dynamic between Emma and the various gossipy side characters and business owners in Sleepy Hollow. Granny was more to the front in this book, and I really look forward to more of her mayoral run in the next installment. This is a great cozy mystery series, but a few questions weren’t wrapped up and answered at the end of the book, so hopefully they’re answered in the next book.