Granny was famous for her award-winning apple pies-and notorious for murdering her husband Jacob at their homestead in Julian, California. The only trouble is, Granny was framed, then murdered. For more than one hundred years, Granny’s spirit has been searching for someone to help her see that justice is served-and she hits pay dirt when she pops in to a séance attended by her great-great-great-granddaughter, modern-day divorced mom Emma Whitecastle. Together, Emma and Granny Apples solve mysteries of the past-starting with Granny’s own unjust murder rap in the final days of the California Gold Rush.
Along with a sprinkling of history, this spirited new mystery series features the amateur sleuth team of Emma Whitecastle and the spirit of her pie-baking great-great-great-grandmother, Granny Apples.
Absolutely adored this book. I got it for free on my Nook thanks to JuJu @ Tales of Whimsy. When I first began reading it I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy it, but once Emma accepted the fact that she could see and hear ghosts, things got a lot more interesting and I couldn’t put the book down. Emma Whitecastle is visited by a long lost relative pleading for her help in clearing her name of murder. Reluctant at first, Emma denies the fact that she is clairvoyant. But after prodding from her mother, she agrees to help Ish Reynolds clear her name and find her husband’s real killer. Traveling to the small rustic town of Julian, California, Emma finds a small town full of secrets, mystery, and ghosts!
Quite the charming little mystery this book was with a delightful cast of characters. Emma was a great heroine. In her mid-forties and the soon to be divorced mother of one, Emma resists the thought of ghosts and anything paranormal. Her skepticism is real, but I love that she eventually opens her mind to things that can’t always be explained. She’s a bit of a risk taker, down-to-earth and real. Emma was just a kind and funny character who I think many women can relate to.
The mystery in itself was nicely written and well-paced. Just when I thought the mystery had been solved, someone turns up murdered and the murderer makes an attempt on Emma’s life. We then learn the main mystery is actually not quite resolved and there is more to the story than we thought. The clues are discovered at just the right intervals although I will admit to being frustrated at times when Emma seemed to be on the cusp of new information and then something or someone interrupted her discovery. But it was all well played by the author and kept me turning the pages.
The secondary characters were great as well, especially the ghosts. I love that the original owner of the Julian hotel still resides there and looks out for his guests, and the mysterious ghost of a young man haunts a particular bench in the Julian cemetery. Phil Bowers, the current owner of the homestead Emma’s relative owned, was a fun character as well. Born and raised in the small-town of Julian he’s rugged and cautious, but still kind and a gentleman.
Overall I thought this was a wonderful book with a down home feel and a charming, yet intriguing mystery. I loved the atmosphere, the mystery, and the characters. Sue Ann Jaffarian has a winner with this one.
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Filed in: Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Reviews Tags: Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Review, Sue Ann Jaffarian