I deemed this book Relevant to My Interests when I saw a blurb of it invoking the name of Barbara Michaels. And for the most part, that’s a not unreasonable name to invoke here. There’s a certain old-school feel to this book in both sides of its plot, the haunted house story and the heavy side helping of romance. By “old school”, I mean a return to what (at least in the books I’ve read lately) has been a vanishing art: encouraging the reader’s imagination as much by what’s not on the page as what’s on it. I miss this, both in things that are supposed to creep me out and romances I’m supposed to be cheering on.
On the other hand, speaking as an ardent fan of Michaels’ older books, I didn’t find this one quite up to par with those–although to be fair, I have no substantive reason for this. Mostly, it’s a question of the overall flavor of the writing, which I found more akin to the later Elizabeth Peters works (the last few Amelia Peabodies and the final Vicky Bliss). If you liked the style that Michaels/Peters took with those books, you will probably like the style of this one all right.
And all this said, the plot is rather fun. Our heroine, Claire, is the new kid in a real estate office, and she’s given the daunting task of finding a buyer for a local mansion where a gruesome quadruple murder took place. When she gets there, she discovers to her shock that she can actually hear the ghost of a young girl who was murdered there–and who can point her at the true identity of her killer, who is still at large. Meanwhile, Claire has a rivalry going on with Avery, the office sexpot, a character who takes a little while to get her feet under her. And both women aim for Ben Grant, the owner of the house Claire’s trying to sell.
Overall, a bit on the fluffy side but not bad. Three stars.