High Spirits by Carol J. Perry is a cute cozy mystery. It is the second A Haunted Haven Mystery and it can be read as a standalone. The author provides all the necessary background information for new readers. I found High Spirits easy to read thanks to the author’s conversational writing style. The book moved along at a good clip. I like Maureen Doherty and her darling dog, Finn. I also like Ted, Lorna, Gert, and the other seniors who work at the inn. I enjoyed the descriptions of the inn Maureen inherited. I wanted to steal some of her Christmas decorations (I love vintage ornaments). I can relate to Maureen’s thoughts about Christmas in Florida. It is challenging to channel Christmas when you are wearing shorts and t-shirts with the sand and surf nearby. There are two mysteries in High Spirits. There is a cold case that Officer Frank Hubbard is determined to solve. A man was shot in the Paramount Theater while watching Animal House in the 1970s. In the present day, the projectionist hired by the owners of the Paramount Theater ends up shot in the projectionist booth. Officer Hubbard believes Maureen has information on the cold case and he is stalking her (stakes out her house, follows her while she walks the dog, and much more). I am not a fan of Officer Hubbard. I believe he crossed the line in this book.
I enjoyed the two mysteries that tie into the local movie theater. There are several suspects in the cold case, and they happen to be in town. It was fun following Maureen as she set out to gather information to solve the cases. She gets help from Lorna the inn’s resident ghost who loves to borrow from Maureen’s wardrobe. Maureen assembles her clues and puts the pieces together to solve the puzzles. I did feel, though, that the reveal was anticlimactic (it was ho hum). For those who are avid armchair sleuths, you will not find the mysteries challenging. I quickly grew tired of all the repetitive details (every time Maureen walks the dog, goes in the side door, what she is wearing down to the shoes, goes out the side door, passes the soda machines and guest laundry area, the type of car she drives). There was romance in the story as Maureen gets to know her head chef. Plus, Lorna has a beau to squire her about town. I love the ghosts in the story and would like to see more of this element. High Spirits is a spirited story with a friendly Finn, Christmas centerpieces, appealing paintings, a cold case, pricey purses, and festive embellishments for trimming the palm tree.
The Avid Reader
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