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Topic: Haunted Bookshop (Ghost and Mrs. McClure) questions **SPOILERS**

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Subject: Haunted Bookshop (Ghost and Mrs. McClure) questions **SPOILERS**
Date Posted: 5/25/2009 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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Hi,

I really enjoy Cleo Coyle's Coffee series, but the Haunted Bookshop Series is not the same writing.  I've just finished the first one, The Ghost and Mrs. McClure and I didn't enjoy it.  I thought all the characters were shallow.  The most described character, the ghost, was just repetative descriptions, yeah he was a private dick who was hard nosed and liked the ladies - got it.  Anything else?........evidently not.

I also found Penelope (Mrs. McClure) to be a poor parent.  That was annoying.  If my very young child's father had killed himself, I would not be leaving him alone for hours on end, letting him get himself ready for bed and into bed.  He is what, 7?  That's young enough to require his mom be there at night, right after his dad has died. 

And Aunt Sadie seems like a great character, and that councilwoman's intrusiveness, but they just barely got a glance over. Anyway, the list goes on, but the book was really just one long conversation between Penelope and Jack.  I got so bored.  I don't want to listen to any one single conversation for 250 someodd pages.

No clues were really dropped, most of them were fleshed out by the ongoing conversation between those 2. I like to have the characters do and say more and try to interpret them.  Did so and so say that for a reason, or was it just conversation?  What about when so and so went here or there, etc?  There was nothing to interpret on my own because the two of them worked everything out in their heads.

Can any of you tell me, do the next books get better, deeper? 

Date Posted: 5/25/2009 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 12/16/2007
Posts: 148
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I've read the series and I enjoyed them. Deep? No, and I really don't think they were ever intended to be so. I think they have to be approached with the expection that they are what they are, a cozy,  just a little light fun reading.

Date Posted: 5/25/2009 4:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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I agree with Pat.  These books are pure fluff and rather like the mighty Platte River...a mile wide but only an inch deep.  I think of them as "commuter books".  I can read them on the train because I don't have to be hugely concerned with detail.

Date Posted: 5/25/2009 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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Well, I at least finished the first Ghost/Mrs. McClure book. I wasn't crazy about it and decided not to read further, but it was at least readable. The first coffeehouse book I quit after about 30 pages.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 5/25/2009 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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I guess I explained myself poorly.  I don't expect cozy mysteries to delve deeply into every character that comes on the scene.  That would be silly, but I do like to know just a little more than their name and age if they are going to have a recurring role.  I want to know something about them so that I'll like them, and be rooting for them, which, of course, would keep me reading and buying books.  Etc.  I want enough info so that I at least remember the characters if I decide to read the next book in line.   These characters are so boring they're interchangeable with whomever "walks thru the door", it doesn't really matter because none of them contribute to the story or plot in any way that would make me miss them if they never came back.

Anyway, just curious if it gets beyond just Penelope and Jack figuring out the crime inside Penelope's head, or it they're all that way?

Date Posted: 5/25/2009 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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Well, Penelope is living and Jack is a ghost.  That doesn't change.  Things do sorta happen though.  I don't want to give away too much. Overall, though, the books are just light amusements.  Try Julia Spencer Flemings' Fergusson/Van Alstyne books.  Those will keep you coming back for more! :)

Date Posted: 5/28/2009 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2005
Posts: 810
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I've just read the first one (The Ghost and Mrs. McClure). In fact, I just finished it this afternoon and I really loved it! In fact, as soon as I found out that the author also wrote the Cleo Coyle Coffeehouse mysteries, I decided to try them also.

Date Posted: 5/30/2009 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2008
Posts: 2,161
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The ghost- "Jack" is written much the way hardboiled detectives were written in the golden age. Think Archie Goodwin (Nero Wolfe's street smart detective). They are suave and handsome, smooth with the ladies, have powerful observational skills but little intuition, and show little to no emotion. They are written to be "all man" all the time according to the stereotypes of that time period. He IS one dimensional. So, you won't find alot of the depth there. He's meant to be fun, not sensitive. I read the "Nero Wolfe" books expecting a fun romp, but not much psychological impact.

I think this series appeals to me because I loved the movie "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" so much. The Captain was also one dimensional, but, life had been so difficult for Lucy that his lack of tangible emotions was appealing to her.  was "Safe".

I can't remember what I thought about Penelope's parenting. It wasn't central to the plot for me, so I think I just ignored it. I did really love the first three coffeehouse books, but the fourth one left me annoyed. I am started to get really tired of Claire's jealous obsession with her ex-husband which in this installment was over the top, and thought her vindictive and jealous behavior toward his girlfriend was very high school. I was so disappointed I haven't even picked up book 5 or 6 yet. And I LOVED that series. Funny how one poorly written book can change your whole attitude. :-\

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 5/31/2009 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,088
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I've read #1 and 2.  I thought that #2 was a bit better than #1.  I started to read #3 yesterday.  I'm with L. R.  I loved  "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and that might be why this appeals to me.  

Penelope does find a way to take Jack with her when she goes to investigate.

As far as her parenting - I guess I just didn't think about it that much because her son seemed okay with what was happening.  In book #3 it mentions that her son is 10.  Maybe because I'm older but when I was 10 I was very self sufficient.  I enjoyed it when my parents would trust me enough to leave me alone while they went visiting a neighbor.  They weren't far, I knew where they were and the phone was right there if necessary.  Her son is upstairs and she's down running the bookstore isn't she? 



Last Edited on: 6/21/09 4:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/31/2009 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2008
Posts: 2,161
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I am wondering if Penelope appealed to me because she is a plus sized gal? I liked a size 14 heroine for these books, I suppose because I had just read a string of cozys with "perfect size 4" type heroines.

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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Isn't it interesting how different things in a book appeal or don't appeal to folks.  LIke Pen's weird parenting style annoyed me, but the fact that she was plus size was something I barely noticed (and I'm not little).  LOL

I just really disliked how the majority of the plot took place in Pen's head.  Don't know why, can't really put my finger on it, but I found it so boring I had to quit reading.  I've already passed them on to someone else (well, they're wrapped, stamped and ready to be mailed out tomorrow).  Different strokes for different folks.  I sincerely hope they next person enjoys them.  :)

Date Posted: 6/2/2009 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2008
Posts: 2,161
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I didn't like the Maddy Hunter series ("passport to peril"?) and struggled to even finish it. Sent it to my aunt who asked me to wishlist them, because "I so loved and enjoyed that book"!.  At the time, I was even shocked other people did like it. I thought it was shallow, and come to find out its many pbs members favorite cozy series!

Date Posted: 6/3/2009 5:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 11
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I'm enjoying the Passport to Peril series by Maddy Hunter, but I think it's mainly because I can relate so well to her traveling retirees from Iowa.  I have always had a love of travel, and since the mid-80's, I have been on several European trips with retirees who were amazingly like those in Maddy's books (when I started traveling, I was 28 years old, so many times I was "adopted" by those older folks).  There are many times that I just laugh out loud at how familiar her characters are to me.  And I have been to many of the places she writes about, which I think is what attracted me to her books in the first place.

I haven't tried The Ghost and Mrs. McClure yet, but it's on my list to read someday.  And thanks to all for so many wonderful reading ideas!

Date Posted: 6/19/2009 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/9/2007
Posts: 516
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I recently read the first book and enjoyed it.  A PBS buddy had read several others, so I have the next four.  As a matter of fact, she said book #4 or #5 was her favorite one.

The Cleo Coyle coffee series is one of my favorites (and I don't even drink coffee). I was glad that the characters were much different in both series and it wasn't just authors using another pen name to start another series.

I also like Maggie Sefton's knitting cozy series, Michelle Scott's horse lover's series and Hank Phillipi Ryan's TV investigative reporter series. Oh, and the Melissa Glazer's ceramic pottery series.  Like the relationship between the main character and his husband.

Debbie



Last Edited on: 6/19/09 6:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1