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HOW TO MARRY A GHOST by Hope McIntyre


By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 27 March 2007

HOW TO MARRY A GHOST is the second story featuring protagonist Lee Bartholomew, following HOW TO SEDUCE A GHOST. I was sold on the character of Lee from the first book in the series, so my reaction to this story included a critical eye on how Hope McIntyre sustained the storyline, which I think she did well. For me the story was richer because of reference to history from the first book.

Lee is a nice complex character, the study of whom is perfect for sitting in front of the fireplace on a wet afternoon. She is full of personality traits and personal relationships which don’t seem relevant to the murder enquiry, given that she’s even supposed to stick her amateur sleuth nose in. Her attitudes frequently provide us with reasons to identify with her, although sometimes we are motivated to put her picture up on a dartboard and take shots.

Lee is a self-deluded girl. She may claim she prefers to live vicariously, but it ain’t so. She claims to be a self-sufficient loner also which is just as ludicrous.

Lee is a hysterical girl. In her mind she collects things that happen, stacking them up to a lopsided conclusion, then defends herself against an imaginary guilt trip. With gymnastic skill, she rationalizes her way through the guilt trip, resulting in a self-justification that’s grudging because she resents having had to justify herself in the first place. Thankfully, most of us don’t really have relatives who are like this.

Lee is a passionate girl falling into glorious embraces, though not always wisely. There are ex-boyfriends, future boyfriends, and a few quick men, all tripping over each other. Reading about these exchanges isn’t titillating as much as it’s refreshing to oversee Lee’s interest in the exotic events in her life.

There are a few places in the story where I took issue. I’m never very interested in all the permutations of who might have committed the crime, particularly when I have trouble remembering all the characters by name, out of context, and there is at least one section where this goes on for pages. There were parts of the story where I felt the author had taken a few steps beyond credulity too, but, hairsplitting aside, the story is now done.

Lee is a fun girl who gives a good time.

The characters are mostly endearing and set for the long haul. So, with a drum roll we ask, as many have asked before us, “Excuse me Miss Author, when will the next book be on the shelves?”