Thursday, November 3, 2016

Haunting Investigation, A Chesterton Holte Mystery by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro [4.5 stars]

From the Description
Spring 1924. The world has clawed its way back from the ravages of WWI and the Spanish Flu pandemic. The 20’s are beginning to roar.
Poppy Thornton lives with her Aunt Jo and her excitable cat Maestro in upper-crust Philadelphia. Poppy is determined to make a name for herself as a serious crime reporter, but is stuck reporting on garden parties and ladies’ fashion. Then one day her editor assigns her to collect background information on the suicide of a prominent businessman. She soon discovers it was actually a murder… but her surprising source for this information is the ghost of a man killed alongside her father during the Great War. Even if she dared tell anyone, who would believe it?
Together Poppy and her "gentleman haunt" follow the trail of a string of murders. But as their investigation narrows in on an all-too-familiar suspect, Poppy becomes a target herself— and wonders if her ghost of a partner will appear in time to keep her from joining him in the after-life.
Publication Date: December 31, 2015
Publisher: Cleveland Writer's Press
Publication Length: 352 pages
I received a copy of this book for review purposes. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this anthology. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.

Haunting Investigation is an enjoyable blend of historical fiction, cozy mystery, and ghost story. Poppy Thornton is a woman ahead of her time, trying to be taken seriously as a crime reporter instead of settling down and having babies like her family and friends want. She is courageous, determined, plucky, and haunted. Chesterton Holte was a spy during The Great War, now he haunts Poppy. Together they must solve the murders of several business men before Poppy gets thrown off the story or far worse. I love the attention to detail in both the setting and characters. It feels as if you're navigating the drawing rooms and dinner parties of 1920's society alongside Poppy as she investigates the murders. This story is full of twists and turns as well as moments of levity. I laughed several times as Poppy tried not to look crazy talking to the invisible Holte around other people. Not all the mysteries are solved by the end, setting us up for book two in what promises to be a fun and enchanting series. I highly recommend this 4.5 star read to fans of historical fiction, mysteries, or ghostly fun.
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About the Author
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has published over ninety novels and nonfiction works and more than seventy pieces of short fiction. She's known for her bestselling series of historical horror novels featuring the 4000 year-old vampire Count Saint-Germain. She's been awarded a literary knighthood by the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, a Grand Master award by the World Horror Association, was the first woman enrolled as a Living Legend by the International Horror Guild, and has received two Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Horror Writers Association and from the World Fantasy Association in 2014. Yarbro lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with the Gang of Two (her irrepressible cats Butterscotch and Crumpet).
You can find her at or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads

"A perfect blend of mystery, history, and haunting. I loved this. Can't wait for the next in the series." -- Adrienne Barbeau, actress, author of Love Bites and Make Me Dead

In 1916 France, two men are executed by the Germans. It is now 1924, and the ghost of Chesterton Holte haunts P.M. Thornton. Holte is there to assuage his guilt over the death of Thornton s father in 1916, who was killed with Holte over a misunderstanding. P.M. is Poppea Millicent Thornton who is determined to become an ace crime reporter, like her father, for the Philadelphia Clarion. Poppy has spent too much time covering ladies book clubs and flower shows; she is ready for the big time. VERDICT Better known for her historical vampire series featuring le Comte de Saint-Germain, Yarbro launches a new paranormal series that offers a richly detailed look at life for women as the Roaring Twenties takes off. Poppy is a strong character who desperately wants to honor her father and not succumb to her aunt s blandishments to marry and raise a family. A solid choice for fans of Alice Kimberly s Haunted Bookshop mysteries or Nancy Atherton s Aunt Dimity novels. -- Library Journal, December 2015
Set in 1924, this first in a paranormal mystery series from old pro Yarbro (best known for the Saint Germain historical vampire novels) is an agreeable and inventive yarn. Poppy Thornton, a young socialite, is trying desperately to break into crime reporting for the Philadelphia Clarion when she's approached by the titular Holte, the helpful ghost of a spy executed with Poppy's father during WWI. The murder of an upper-crust acquaintance of Poppy gives Poppy her chance. The death appears connected to other crimes committed at a level of society that the working-class police and reporters have difficulty exploring. As Poppy cleverly exploits her social connections, Holte interviews the spirits of several murder victims, hindered by the fact that ghosts tend to be forgetful. It's all good fun until the action breaks off abruptly at the end. Of course, a series may have continuing themes, but this book leaves far too many plot threads dangling. -- Publishers Weekly
"Haunting Investigation, set in the late 1920s in the city of Philadelphia, is a novel that displays Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's characteristic historical accuracy and attention to detail. Here, she combines the mystery and ghost story genres to tell a suspenseful tale of murder with an engaging heroine and a well-drawn cast of characters. This diverting and involving story will leave readers both satisfied and hungering for more stories featuring Poppy Thornton and Chesterton Holte." -- Pamela Sargent; award winning author, Earthseed and The Shore of Women
If you want to read one of the best mystery writers alive...if you want to have a few delightful hours of compulsive reading, then I suggest you read this haunting Chesterton Holte mystery by the World Fantasy Award Grandmaster Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Dammit, she's that good! -- JACK DANN award winning author, The Memory Cathedral
"Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's work has haunted me all my life, and Haunting Investigation shows why. CQY is a master of the imagination and the queen of storytelling. I can't wait for her next book!" --Nancy Holder -NYT Bestselling Author, Crimson Peak: The Official Movie Novelization
"This is the first time I have read Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's novels and this was a wonderful introduction and a treat to read." -- Veronica Lynn, Goodreads