Revenge Served Cold by Jackie Fullerton was kindly sent to me by the publishers, Thomas House Publishing. It’s her second book featuring Anne Marshall, a part-time court reporter and law student. I think it slots into the “cozy mystery” category, with the crime being solved by amateur sleuths rather than the police, who are always one step behind. If there is a category for “paranormal crime fiction” that applies too. In some respects it reminded me of that TV series – Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), a remake with Vic Reeves of a 60s TV series about private detectives, one of whom was dead and appearing in a white suit could only be seen by his partner.
Anne’s father died three years earlier, and his ghost appears to her, helping her to solve crimes. She is the only person who can see him, although others can smell his pipe tobacco. The book begins with the death of Professor Elliot Spence, Anne’s law lecturer and her father’s former colleague, when a car apparently driven by Kathy, Elliot’s wife runs him down.
Kathy’s friend Shirley, who works with Anne at the law courts, convinces her of Kathy’s innocence and Anne together with her fellow law students start looking for evidence to prove it. Her father also helps, which really means that you have to suspend your disbelief in following everything that happens. As a ghost he is able to be at police interviews unseen, and report back to Anne thus giving her information she wouldn’t otherwise have and also send text messages on her phone. One thing that made me pause for thought is that at one point he breathed a sigh – ghosts can’t breathe as far as can tell, but if I can accept his presence in the story I also have to accept that he can breathe and smoke and chat to Anne.
I found this a light and entertaining book and although I found the style stilted in parts, with too many short sentences and repetitive, it moves along at a rapid pace. Even though it was obvious early on who killed Elliot Spence there were enough plot twists and turns to hold my interest in the story to its dramatic ending.