Monday, May 10, 2021

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait - A Review & Giveaway


The Seventh Haunted Bookshop Mystery

When Penelope Thornton-McClure and her friends drive out to pick up some paintings for her book shop's big event on cover art, she doesn't expect Seymour to fall in love with a haunting painting, which may be haunted. Captivated by what appears to be an early work of local legend, Seymour scoffs at the rumor that the painting is cursed. But a flat tire on a rainy night and the death of its seller are just the start of misfortunes for Pen and her friends. A case from PI Jack Shepard's past may help Pen as cover art, shady business dealings, and murder converge in this charming Rhode Island town.

Hardboiled and softboiled mysteries combine as 1940s PI Jack Shepard assists bookshop owner Penelope McClure in a new mystery. Readers not only get a thrilling cozy mystery, but a historical hardboiled PI mystery softened somewhat by the addition of the 21st century bookseller. The two mysteries run parallel with ties to each other and a means for Pen get a better understanding of her current problem. We can see how the past colors the present and future, in more ways than one.

Nothing is cut and dried in this seventh Haunted Bookshop Mystery. I like how Pen follows red herrings herself and make mistakes while searching for the truth. Although Jack was guiding her from the onset, reminding her that things aren't always what they seem, Pen and readers alike jump to some wrong conclusions leading to more than one surprise. 

I'm so happy to once again welcome Jack back. This gruff, but charming PI has me enthralled once again. I love how he is able to travel with Pen, but more, he can become a living breathing man when he brings Pen into his memories via her dreams. It's a fantastic method that both develops the plot and their relationship.

In addition to the fictional tale, there's a real caveat in THE GHOST IN THE HAUNTED PORTRAIT. It's a sad fact that there are plenty of shady people in the publishing world and I'm pleased that this book takes an honest look at bad practices that haunt the publishing industry more than ghosts or curses. Reading this mystery may help one fledgling writer or artist avoid the real life monsters out there.

THE GHOST AND THE HAUNTED PORTRAIT is a diabolically clever mystery with a reminder to never judge a book by its cover. It's a smart witty mystery, that also gives sage advice. I love this book and this series and look forward to seeing what Pen gets up to next. And Jack...I'll see you in my dreams.


 The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (Haunted Bookshop Mystery) by Cleo Coyle

About The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 7th in Series
Publisher: Berkley (May 4, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure and her gumshoe ghost team up to solve the stunning mystery at the heart of a madwoman’s self-portrait in this all new installment from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

While gathering a collection of vintage book cover paintings for a special event in her quaint Rhode Island bookshop, Penelope discovers a spooky portrait of a beautiful woman, one who supposedly went mad, according to town gossip. Seymour, the local mailman, falls in love with the haunting image and buys the picture, refusing to part with it, even as fatal accidents befall those around it. Is the canvas cursed? Or is something more sinister at work?

For answers, Pen turns to an otherworldly source: Jack Shepard, PI. Back in the 1940s, Jack cracked a case of a killer cover artist, and (to Pen’s relief) his spirit is willing to help her solve this mystery, even if he and his license did expire decades ago.

About Cleo Coyle

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries—now celebrating eighteen years in print. They are also authors of the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, previously written under the pseudonym Alice Kimberly. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also both bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together.

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  1. Kathy - This is brilliant review! Thank you so much for taking the time to read our work and share your honest and insightful thoughts. Marc and I couldn't be happier that you've enjoyed your trip back to our Haunted Bookshop world.

    ~ Cleo

    1. Thank you so much! And thanks for visiting, you're always welcome at Cozy Up With Kathy!

  2. Sounds like a great read. Looking forward to reading the book.

  3. Great review! Thanks so much for the chance! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. Sounds like an interesting book.

  5. I love Cleo. Now I can't wait to read her books in print. Would love to read and review author;'s books in print format. Look forward to learning more about author and their books.
    Love books like this
    Hope I Win

  6. Sounds like a great cozy mystery!

  7. Thank you for your review on "THE GHOST AND THE HAUNTED PORTRAIT" by Cleo Coyle and for being part of the book tour.

    Sounds like a fabulous book. It's on my TBR list and I can't wait for the opportunity to read it. Love the cover!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  8. I love Jack & Pen!!

  9. Sounds like a great cozy mystery! I would love to read this book. Thank you for the chance!!