Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ghost at Work

Carolyn Hart is a very popular mystery book author at the library where I work, but I've never read any of her books. When I saw the first volume in her Bailey Ruth series available as an audio download from my library's digital media catalog, I thought I'd give it a try.

The premise sounded like fun: Bailey Ruth Raeburn and her husband have died and are in heaven, and Bailey Ruth joins the "Department of Good Intentions," which gives her the opportunity to return to earth to help out. Her first "case" involves the wife of the pastor in small Oklahoma town where Bailey spent her life. Kathleen has discovered a body on her back porch, and Bailey is going to do her best to make sure the innocent woman is not implicated in the crime.

This was kind of cute, but sadly it didn't deliver the kind of read I was hoping for. Bailey Ruth just kind of bumbles her way through the book, not reading the rules she's given for her job, making one mistake after another, and I never really felt that the living people in the story couldn't have solved their own problems without the "divine intervention" of Bailey Ruth's presence. There was an inordinate amount of time spent on the things that were new to Bailey Ruth, such as computers and cell phones, and although the book emphasized that Bailey was behind the times, the fact that the teenagers used terms like "swell" made me feel as if the whole thing were set in the 50s. It was a light and entertaining read, though, so fans of cozies with a supernatural twist may want to give this one a try.

Ghost at Work (#1 in the Bailey Ruth series) by Carolyn Hart; narrated by Anne Marie Lee (Books on Tape, 2008)

Also reviewed at:
Lesa's Book Critiques:  "Readers willing to suspend disbelief, and accept a ghost that investigates a murder, and interferes with the police investigation will probably enjoy Ghost at Work."
Pudgy Penguin Perusals:  "Hart writes a classic cozy with all the traditional elements of the genre. What she adds is her own exceptional brand of wit and humor along with a fabulous cast of well fleshed out characters."


  1. I have never even heard of this author before...I will keep her in mind.

  2. Darla! I will definitely bring the books by next time I'm in town to donate to your library - that is a fantastic idea, thanks!

  3. Kailana - I might try a different series, though - she has another one that seems to be very popular.

    VA Gal - Thanks! I'm always looking for books to add to the collection, or replace worn out ones. :)

  4. Hart started out as a YA author and I found her books for kids to be more interesting (and, surprisingly, harder-edged) than the few adult books of hers that I've read. If you've got a Kindle, Amazon has some of the titles for sale, otherwise they're somewhat hard to find and can be expensive. The titles are:

    Secret of the Cellars
    Dangerous Summer
    No Easy Answers
    Rendevous in Veracruz
    Danger, High Explosives!


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