Chance of a Ghost is the fourth book in author E.J. Cooperman’s Haunted Guesthouse series. Guesthouse owner Alison Kerby is faced with a ghostly client in the form of a man stage-named Lawrence Laurentz who claims he did not die of a cardiac arrhythmia as it claims on his death certificate. In fact, Lawrence claims he was murdered by an invisible attacker who dropped a toaster into the bathtub with him while he was bathing. Not a lot for Alison to go on, but with the tantalizing bait of saving her own dead father, she finds herself compelled to take the case.
Alison’s father died five years ago and has been visiting her mother, Loretta, weekly ever since. The revelation is painful for Alison who, admittedly, is new to the whole seeing ghosts thing, but can’t understand why her father wouldn’t come see her now that the possibility existed. Loretta gets worried when her husband fails – for three weeks in a row – to show up for their Tuesday “dates.” Lawrence claims that he is being held against his will and he, Lawrence, is the only one who can communicate with Alison’s father wherever he is. And so Alison gets to work trying to solve the case.
Her suspect list includes:
- Penny Fields, Lawrence’s boss at the theater where he worked.
- Tyra Carter, a former co-worker of Lawrence’s at the theater who claims that Lawrence was responsible for her losing her job there.
- Frances Walters, a co-worker from the theater and also the woman who introduced Lawrence to the theatrical group The New Old Thespians, of which he was asked to leave by . . .
- Jerry Rasmussen, the director of the Thespians.
At the same time, Alison starts receiving messages about her father and his own death – that things were not as she and her mother thought. As the so-called clues add up to not much of anything, Alison is faced with the possibility that finding Lawrence’s “murderer” – and freeing her trapped father – just isn’t going to happen.
This might have been my favorite of the Haunted Guesthouse mysteries so far. I love Cooperman’s writing – it’s witty, sharp, funny, and sarcastic – and, let’s face it: Cooperman can certain spin a mysterious yarn. And, because I’ve visited the New Jersey shore on several occasions, the books are always peppered with a little bit of reminiscences for me, as well. Great read; I’m looking forward to the next book!