Seances Are For Suckers by Tamara Berry
Kensington Publishing found me through social media, and kindly gifted me this pre-release copy, hoping I'd be interested in it. How exciting! Free books, and free cozy mysteries, are about the best thing I can think of. They totally made my day.
Seances Are For Suckers follows the story of Eleanor, a talented impostor medium, who helps people rid their homes of unwanted ghosts. She does not believe in ghosts, but her heart goes out to the distress people feel when they believe they have a ghost in their home. She uses some tricks, but mostly is just highly observant and intuitive, and like Sherlock Holmes, gathers her clues from the things people say, their actions, or her surroundings, and people are amazed and comforted by her "psychic abilities." Eleanor's sister is in a persistent vegetative state in an expensive care center since they were in a car accident as teenagers, and most of Eleanor's earnings go to support her sister's care.
One day a British gentleman approaches her as she's visiting her sister and explains that he understands who she is and what she does, and that he'd like to hire her to help convince his mother that their "ghost" has been removed from his ancestral mansion in England. Eleanor agrees, and soon finds herself in a drafty castle with a handsome enigmatic man and his kooky family, doing her best to figure out who and why someone has been impersonating a ghost they call Xavier. Things go bump in the night, booby traps are set, and cold breezes blow across the backs of necks. It all seems fairly standard, and Eleanor thinks she has it figured out, until she falls victim to one of the booby traps and lands on top of a dead body. Suddenly her fake ghost investigation takes a very real scary turn. As Eleanor figures out what is really going on, family secrets are laid bare, and the answer is both more intriguing and more horrible than she could have ever imagined when she took the job. In the end, the castle is rid of its ghost, and Eleanor may have even found love.
This was a very fun, well-written, engaging cozy mystery that kept you guessing the whole time. Happy publication day to Seances Are For Suckers- I'll definitely be waiting to read more from Berry, and I can't wait to see what further adventures Eleanor gets up to.