Lately I’ve been going through some of the most recommended Cozy Mystery series as suggested by visitors to the site, and most of the time they are authors I’ve already read. But sometimes great authors do “slip through the cracks” >>> there are only so many hours in the day after all!
So this month, the first book I’ll be highlighting is one that I actually haven’t read before, but now I can see why this series is so doggone popular! As you probably already could tell by the title of the blog post, I’m talking about the first entry in E.J. Copperman‘s very successful Haunted Guesthouse Mystery Series, Night of the Living Deed.
As you can likely tell from the title of the series, this is a “paranormal” Cozy Mystery Series, specifically a ghost paranormal. Some of you may know that I have somewhat mixed feelings about paranormal themed Cozies. At their worst, they can feel like “cheats” – if the sleuth just psychically “knows” who the killer is, why is solving the crime impressive? And how exactly do you expect to convict a criminal on the expert testimony of “my magic cat told me he did it”? (Yikes! I actually enjoy reading several paranormal Cozies that feature magical cats!)
Fortunately, these sort of shortcuts aren’t present in this particular Cozy. The ghosts in this entry are bound to follow rules – in this case, the most important is that they aren’t able to leave the location in which they died. So in the years since their unfortunate demise (by poison, so they never saw the killer directly), they’ve been frustrated and unable to follow the clues that might lead to the reason they were killed.
Well, you might ask: In that case, what use is it to even have a ghost? Fortunately one of the deceased individuals who is haunting is a private detective, so while he isn’t able to directly influence the world outside the house or personally gather evidence, he’s able to help guide the star of the Cozy, Alison Kerby (divorced single mom and guest house owner).
As a result, there’s a good mixture of why the crime needs to be solved (these ghosts just won’t leave Alison alone otherwise!) and expertise that many beginning Cozy sleuths might lack (fortunately one of them actually knows a bit about investigating crime). Of course, stakes are raised significantly when Alison begins getting threatening messages, and the local police don’t necessarily seem too invested in quickly solving the crime – but isn’t that always the case in the surprisingly dangerous world of small town Cozy settings?
All told, I found E.J. Copperman’s Night of the Living Deed a very enjoyable read. I hope that people keep recommending it for years to come >>> by then I may be all caught up with this very good series!
If you’re interested in seeing more highlights of some of the other most popular and/or recommended Cozy Mystery authors/series, visit the Most Popular & Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.
P.S. E.J. Copperman also writes the Asperger’s Mystery Series and the Mysterious Detective Mystery Series. As Jeffrey Cohen he writes both the Double Feature Mystery Series and the Aaron Tucker Mystery Series.