COOKIES, CORPSES AND THE DEADLY HAUNT by Rachael Stapleton
The First Haunted House Flippers Inc. Mystery
Juniper Palmer and her business partner/ex-boyfriend Jake have just bought a glorious Gothic Revival house to flip in Jake's hometown. The spooky looking house known as The Doctor's House has a tragic history and everyone knows it's haunted. Juniper and Jake decided to lend the house to the local historical society for their annual Halloween Ball, made all the more special as it's the 100 year anniversary of the murder of the Doctor's wife. Restoring historic homes was difficult enough, but now Juniper has begun hearing music and seeing a woman in white. Not only that she has to deal with her feelings towards Jake, who is now engaged, and the machinations of the Patone family. What else could happen?
This first book in the Haunted House Flippers Inc. Mystery series introduces us to a small community of interesting characters which have a lot of backstory and interconnectedness, which is not surprising as some of these characters also exists in other books by the author. Yet the characters are not very well developed despite that history and most come off as either stereotypical or flat. There are kernels of fascinating aspects to many of the characters which will hopefully grow in future books.
I really enjoyed the house flipping aspect to the book. Descriptions of the architecture, Victorians are a personal favorite, and the restoration work are engaging and done well. In addition, the history of the house, the story of the doctor and his wife, is intriguing and a wonderful premise.
There were several formatting errors, for which I will not fault the author and hopefully are corrected in future editions. The most glaring came from a switch in point of view from third person to first and back again. Better editing and formatting will certainly provide a more compelling read.
A haunted history and a gloriously Gothic home brings characters together as they try to solve a modern day murder. COOKIES, CORPSES AND THE DEADLY HAUNT is a breezy read perfect for the Halloween season.