My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Emma Lee Raines works in the family business with her sister, Charlotte Rae, as director of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home. After a conk on head though, Emma Lee is seeing and talking with the ghosts of some their clients (the deceased clients).
Most recently, she’s being visited by the ghost of her grandmother’s hated business partner, Ruthie Sue Payne. Ruthie, whose body was discovered at the bottom of a staircase at her B&B, is adamant that she didn’t trip and fall as has been surmised but pushed! She wants Emma Lee to help her find her killer so she can go toward the light and meet up with her still beloved ex-husband, Earl Way Payne (who happens to have been married to Emma Lee’s grandmother at the time of his death.)As Emma Lee starts looking into Ruthie’s “accident” and asking questions, she draws the attention of the local sheriff, Jack Henry Ross, her secret high school crush. But as they come closer to uncovering the truth, someone else is working in the shadows to stop the investigation at any cost.
Author Tonya Kappes has perfectly captured a slice of life in a small southern town: the “in” crowd, the gossip, everyone knowing everyone else’s business and every member of your family past and present. The reader is introduced to a number of town residents, “characters,” family, and friends and get a peek at the histories and relationships at work there. I liked that these included older people that were still lively and out there living their best lives (and surprising the younger folks like Emma Lee that there is still some life left after 40 and 50 and 60, etc.) Our heroine is sweet, likeable, and funny and her ghostly visitor, sassy and not at all the awful person that Emma Lee had always thought. You definitely root for the home team in this one!
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