Friday, July 22, 2016

Daisy's Chain by Gillian Larkin (Storage Ghost Mystery #5)

Frankie and Grace have experienced some good luck with the contents of the first couple of storage lockers they’ve bid on and won at auction. They’ve lucked into some definite hidden treasures. However, in this, the 5th story in the Storage Ghost Mysteries, Grace may have faltered.

One of the lockers at the day’s auction appears to be the abandoned result a charity scam: unscrupulous persons have collected household donations in the name of a bogus charity, sifted through the contents for valuables, and left the rest in a temporarily-leased storage unit. Along with the leftover charity detritus is the very angry ghost of a man named Dan Manville. Against her will, Grace’s arm is forced up to make a winning bid on the whole distasteful scene – the ghost has somehow compelled her. The unpleasant ghost need her help and will not be denied.

In life, Dan Manville had been a loving husband and doting father to a single daughter (Daisy). During Daisy’s first term at university, she becomes pregnant. She is devastated and unable to tell her parents that she was drugged at a club and raped. Old-fashioned and unforgiving, Dan cuts his daughter out of his and his wife’s lives. His only keepsake of his daughter is the heart and chain necklace he gave Daisy on her 16th birthday. He dies a bitter, angry man. He doesn’t know it but he needs Grace to help him discover the truth of what happened to his daughter and resolve his anger.

This story relies on some realistic circumstances with some very possible consequences for its plot. It is a short novel but one that gives you a full story (and continues to broaden the whole Storage Ghost history). It is great for a single evening’s reading or any time you like.

The Write Dream by Gillian Larkin (Storage Ghost Mystery #4)

A mother's love helps "write" a wrong!

In The Write Dream, Grace and Frankie Abrahams are finally free of the vicious loan shark, Eddie Tominski, and can now concentrate on making a living with their shop left to them by their parents. Frankie is expanding their stock from antiques to household goods by bidding on and winning the contents of abandoned storage lockers. He is developing an online presence for the store and his auction adventures to further his marketing reach and sales.

Part of a recent storage locker auction acquisition includes the personal notebooks of a young writer as well as the ghost of his deceased, yet still doting, mother. The mother wonders how her son has turned out and a quick search of the internet leaves mom and Grace with more questions than answers – deeply troubling questions.

This fourth installment of The Storage Ghosts Mysteries has Grace assisting another ghost with unfinished business here on Earth find the answers she needs to move on to the afterlife. With a truly awful and sneaky villain in the story, its resolution is very satisfactory.

Grace continues to learn more about how she can help the ghosts that are in need and we get a better glimpse into the existence of a ghost that is attached to the shop itself.

Another fast-paced plot and quick resolution (not rushed!) made for a nice single sit-down.

Tick Tock by Gillian Larkin (Storage Ghost Mystery #3)

This Eddie character is EVIL!

Third in the natural progression of tales in the Storage Ghost Mysteries, Tick Tock reveals what really happened to Grace and Frankie’s parents.

Eddie Tominski, the ruthless loan shark, steps up his evil ways to wrest the antiques shop left to them by their deceased parents away from the Abrahams siblings. He even has his thugs attack Grace at a storage locker auction - in a public restroom. Grace is rescued and family friend, Big Bob, determines to put an end to Eddie’s plans.

Grace wins the contents of a storage locker that holds the ghosts of an older couple that she recognizes to be friends of her parents. Lynne and Tom Opendale had owned and operated a watch repair shop and died under mysterious circumstances. Grace is led to the couple’s grown daughter, Clare, who has developed a theory about their deaths as well as that of the elder Abrahams and others. All the suspicious deaths lead back to Eddie Tominski.

Although Grace never encounters the ghosts of her parents, she does receive word of them from some of the ghosts she end up helping. We also discover in Tick Tock that there may be the helpful spirit of a saucy old woman inside the antique shop.

Once again, this is a quick, fun, and satisfyingly-resolved cozy mystery but with a heavy dose of menace this time. Still … THUMBS UP!

Lost and Found by Gillian Larkin (Storage Ghost Mystery #2)

Another good entry in the Storage Ghost Mystery series - this time, Grace helps a couple, separated by time and a long-ago secret, find peace.

In this second story of the Storage Ghosts Mysteries, Grace Abrahams and brother, Frankie, attend another storage locker auction to find more saleable goods for their antiques/bits & pieces shop. Grace runs across a ghost named Clive Arthur that needs her help to peacefully move on to the hereafter. In life, Clive was an acclaimed photographer who traveled the world over for his art. In death, he is attached to some unknown item in an abandoned storage locker keeping him from exiting his earthly existence. That item turns out to be 2 undeveloped rolls of film. Once developed, the photographs lead Grace and Clive back to the only woman Clive ever loved and the bittersweet secret that, unknowing to him, served to keep them apart throughout his life.

Lost and Found furthers the story and the character development of Grace, Frankie, and some recurring, supporting players – evil loan shark Eddie Tominski, auctioneer Sylvester Sylver, and family friend, kindly Big Bob. Grace is able to discover the unfinished business tying Clive to his past life and the contents of the storage locker prove to be hidden treasure of the best kind – profitable.

This is a cozy, gentle mystery for the most part. Eddie is EVIL though and his thugs are rough and tough and relentless in their harassment of the Abrahams siblings. I recommend this story to readers that like their mysteries cozy and whose reading time is at premium. It is a short, quick, and completely satisfying read anytime but will really fit the bill if you only have an hour or so to sit down and enjoy.