Monday, November 17, 2008

Carolyn Hart Creates New Character! A Ghost!

Ghost at Work
By Carolyn Hart
Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780060874360
290 Pages




Bailey Ruth Raeburn--remember the name! She’s the main character being introduced in Carolyn Hart’s latest novel, Ghost at Work. And I just know that...she’ll be back!

I’ve enjoyed Carolyn Hart’s books in the past, but none were so delightful or fun to read as Ghost at Work. Act-u-ally, Bailey Ruth is an emissary--the proper title, according to Wiggins, the head of the Heavenly Department of Good Intentions, who is giving Bailey Ruth her first opportunity to return to earth to help somebody in need. Of course, there are a number of rules to follow as she takes on this challenge...

And who could be more in need than Kathleen Abbott, a pastor’s wife who has found a dead body on her back porch? And that dead body is a man who just happens to have, among other things, offered Kathleen a gift of a little red teddy the night before he was killed!

You will find that Bailey Ruth tends to act impulsively—she’s trying hard to help Kathleen—so the first thing done was to move in quickly, introduce her presence by responding to Kathleen’s muttered comments to herself, and later suggesting that the body be moved!

Then Kathleen remembers that Daryl Murdoch, the dead man, had taken a picture of her when she was opening the “teddy” and on retrieving the phone from his pocket, Kathleen and Bailey find other pictures of individuals they recognize—in unusual poses. It seems Daryl took pictures of people who now could be considered suspects!

Though Bailey Ruth tries hard to “follow the rules,” there are some things that just cannot be accomplished—like remaining invisible while carrying a cell phone! Or the murder weapon!

Soon there are reports all over town of strange happenings as Bailey follows the trail and tries to find the person who murdered Daryl and tried to frame Kathleen. This is especially important because Kathleen in fear of her involvement has destroyed evidence, such as the cell phone...and gains Bailey’s help in burning the “teddy.” Bailey does feel bad for creating a false trail for the police to follow, but her role as “emissary” on behalf of Kathleen is paramount, especially, when she realizes that Kathleen daughter, nicknamed Bayroo, can see her and they all realize that Bailey Ruth is an ancester!

Bailey Ruth’s story might well be considered an “alternative future” story rather than an alternative historical fiction...for she certainly does provide us lots of information about our lives after we, too, leave this earth! But, it was even more fun watching her catch up here on earth as she learns about the technological upgrades, such as computers, and decides to “dress” in today’s fashions! Her interaction with Wiggins, her boss, is truly genius as she inveigles to remain on earth, even though violating rule after rule, all in a good cause, of course!

Hart has made me a permanent fan of Bailey Ruth! I certainly hope and recommend she continue this character into a major series...hopefully with Bayroo helping! Needless to say, for lovers of cozies, comedy and charming characters...Ghost at Work must be considered a must-read!

G. A. Bixler
For Amazon vine