Title: Murder on Honky-Tonk Row (A Ghost and Camper Kooky Mystery #2)
Author: Rita Moreau
Published on: 1 August 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Murder on Honky-Tonk Row is the second book in A Ghost and Camper Kooky Mystery series by Rita Moreau. The series features Mabel Gold, a recently divorced senior citizen, and Irma, a ghost from purgatory.
In the previous book – Wheeler-Dealer – we saw Mabel and Irma solve the murder of a wheeler-dealer and Irma went one step closer to freedom. In Murder on Honky-Tonk Row, the camper gang (Mabel, her friend Lili and husband Bob, retired schoolteachers Peggy and Josh, and a young country singer Joe) are at Savannah. Joe and Cecilia(Mabel’s daughter) are eagerly waiting to meet each other – Cecilia is a Broadway actress and would be joining her mother at Savannah. Mabel played cupid and introduced the youngsters to each other.
The camper gang are at the local honky-tonk when Mabel sees Irma and two other ghosts. Meet Luke and Molly, the young couple were shot to dead more almost two decades ago. They are still stuck on earth, looking to bring justice to their killer – and they need someone to help them out. Irma decides to help the ghostly duo, after all, she will receive brownie points from St Peter and might leave purgatory for good.
Mabel is bound to help Irma. Lili and Bob also pitch in to help Mabel. They start questioning the locals, gaining (unwanted) attention from the killer. The owner of Honky-Tonk is contesting for the post of Governor and he doesn’t like the campers interfering in his business…
What a fantastic mystery! Rita Moreau is a master storyteller. Goons (the helpful and the bad kind), ghosts (yep, plural), a cold case, camping and whole lotta delicious baked goodies, Murder on Honky-Tonk Row is a smashing hit!
In this book, along with the recurring characters, we have a set of new characters – Cecilia, Jolene, Luke, Molly and Clyde. Luke and Molly were shot to death two decades ago and are stuck between earth and heaven. Molly might not know she’s dead – she spends most of her time on the stage, singing. Luke sits by the bar, watching Molly. Clyde is the local country singer and helps the sleuthing trio in solving the case. Cecilia is Mabel’s daughter and Joe’s (would-be) girlfriend. Jolene is Lili’s twin and makes an appearance in the latter half of the story.
Irma’s known for her quirky ‘get-ups’. From mother superior to aerobics instructor, Irma seems to have a (ghostly) wardrobe full of costumes. As much as Mabel wants Irma gone, as the story ends, we see Mabel wondering how her life would be once Irma crosses the gates to heaven.
The mystery is well-plotted and keeps one guessing till the end. Red herring are plenty so give your deerstalker hat or grey cells a break and let Mabel and Irma do the sleuthing. Excellent character portrayal. The goons add a dash of notoriety to the story – they threaten to forcefully remove the campers from the ground.
Wacky characters, witty banter and a dash of humor, Murder on Honky-Tonk Row by Rita Moreau is an enjoyable and completely entertaining cozy mystery.
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.