Bones Behind the Wheel: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery
Bones Behind the Wheel is the tenth in the Haunted Guesthouse series by E.J. Copperman, but it is also a terrific starting point, as it explains everything the reader needs to enjoy this paranormal cozy mystery. The reintroduction of the premise, key characters, and setting was much appreciated. Once you get into the double digits for a book series, that’s a must.
The series is enjoyable because of its comedy — innkeeper/detective Alison is fond of the sarcastic aside in her narration, in keeping with the New Jersey setting and attitude — as well as the diverse and entertaining supporting cast: her new husband, her teenage daughter, her mother, and the ghosts. Stoic Paul wants to be a private investigator, while spitfire Maxie has developed an interest in interior decoration.
The twisty mystery in this volume has a car found buried in Alision’s beachfront backyard. There’s a skeleton inside. Was it a murder? Who buried a car decades ago, and why?
This isn’t a classic mystery, as Alison keeps insisting she doesn’t want to get involved, in spite of other people telling her things, but seeing her interactions with other people keep things moving and entertaining. I’m particularly a fan of Phyllis, the old newshound running the neighborhood paper. At times, the investigation seems to be almost an afterthought. Since Alison isn’t interested, her husband (who can’t see the ghosts) teams up with Paul, so they find some clever ways to communicate.
I prefer Copperman’s other mystery series, just because I have a hard time reconciling ghosts being treated as real with a mystery premise, but I do like the spirits for their comic relief, and this is an entertaining, escapist read. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)