Bopped on the head from a falling plastic Santa, local undertaker Emma Lee Raines is told she’s suffering from “funeral trauma.” It’s trauma all right, because the not so dearly departed keep talking to her. Take Ruthie Sue Payne--innkeeper, gossip queen, and arch-nemesis of Emma Lee’s granny—she’s adamant that she didn’t just fall down those stairs. She was pushed.
Ruthie has no idea who wanted her pushing up daisies. All she knows is that she can’t cross over until the matter is laid to eternal rest. In the land of the living, Emma Lee’s high-school crush, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, isn’t ready to rule out foul play. Granny Raines, the widow of Ruthie’s ex-husband and co-owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, is the prime suspect. Now Emma Lee is stuck playing detective or risk being haunted forever.
A Ghostly Undertaking by Tonya Kappes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Ghostly Undertaking by Tonya Knappes is 2015 Witness Impulse publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first book in the Ghostly Southern Mysteries series. I love ghost stories and cozy mysteries so I figured this one would be a perfect match for me. I loved the set up- Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, a young woman as a the funeral director, Emma Lee Raines, a murder, a ghost and maybe a hint of romance.
When the recently departed Ruthie informs Emma she did NOT fall down the stairs, but was pushed, she demands Emma find out whodunit so Ruthie can pass on to her just rewards. It is in Emma's best interest to do so since Ruthie and Emma's grandmother had a long running feud. Emma is worried her grandmother could be a suspect. Emma teams up with the local sheriff, Jack Ross, a man she nearly kissed once while still in high school, and who knows about her “gift”, to solve the mystery.
I enjoyed this off beat and kind of usual cozy mystery. I loved the small town humor , where everyone knows everything you did five minutes after you did it. The whodunit part kept me guessing all the way to the end and I will confess, I never even suspected who the killer was. Emma was a bit hard to figure out. She is perhaps a little naïve or was too sheltered or something. She is a quirky with some apparent issues which I never really understood... something called the funeral traumas, which she obtained from a bump on the head. She is evidently not much of a drinker and was at times too immature for her age and suffers from a lack of confidence. I do believe the local sheriff might be able to help her out with some of these issues.
Other than some very mild violence and language this is a clean, PG rated book, and would appeal to all cozy mystery lovers. This would be a great book to curl up by the fire with. 4 stars
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tonya has written over 15 novels and 4 novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor, and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, three teenage boys, two very spoiled schnauzers and one ex-stray cats in northern Kentucky and grew up in Nicholasville. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full time but can be found at all of her guys high school games with a pencil and paper in hand.