By Karen White
Published November 2008 by Penguin Group
Source: the Publisher, thanks to Lisa and TLC Book Tours
An old man practical realtor Melanie Middleton recently met has died and left her his old house on Tradd Street, along with a dog, a housekeeper and several ghosts. And a mystery that the old man asks her to solve in the letter he has left for her.
Melanie doesn't want the house nor the obligation to live in it for a year. To make matters worse, she's going to have to deal with Jack Trenholm, the handsome writer of unsolved historical mystery books and her father, Colonel James Middleton, an alcoholic who has been appointed the executor of the funds to restore the house. Toss in a quirky friend who just happens to specialize in historic home restoration, a hippy client who offers to help, a team of repairmen and builders and yet another handsome man, Marc Longo, whose grandfather also happens to be involved in the mystery.
I posed the question on Goodreads, "Is there a genre for romance/mystery books?" It was intended as something of a rhetorical question. I thought I was making it up just because it seems to fit this book. Turns out that, apparently, there is such a genre! At any rate, this book did read a bit like a romance novel to me. Two handsome men for the woman to choose from. One of them happens to bring out the cranky in Melanie at the same time as she is attracted to him. You know how this type of book reads. White does make watching Jack and Melanie spar great fun.
White builds the romance around the mystery and the very complicated relationships that Melanie has with her family. With so many characters and so much back story, it took a while to really get to the meat of the mystery. White does let the reader in on the clues as they are found and I wasn't altogether surprised by the ending because of it but I wasn't disappointed by it either.
There were times when I felt that the book got repetitive and some of the things that happened felt predictable to me. But White keeps the story moving along and she paints a lovely picture of the house and the city of Charleston.
Dar, at Peeking Between the Pages, really loved the book. You can find her review here. Up next for me it White's "The Girl on Legare Street" which is the next book in this series.