Feb 17, 2015

ARC Review--A Ghostly Undertaking by Tonya Kappes

Another day. Another funeral. Another ghost. Another average day in the life of young funeral home director, Emma Lee Raines. After a perilous run-in with a plastic Santa Claus, Emma Lee, co-owner of Eternal Slumber Funeral Home in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, sees the ghost of town gossip Ruthie Sue Payne, who is proving to be a real pain, more so in death than while living. Recently deceased, Ruthie reveals to Emma Lee that her demise wasn't caused by accidentally falling down the steps at the Sleepy Hollow Inn as everyone believes—she was pushed...murdered. In order for the ghost to cross over—and for Emma Lee to be rid of Ruthie for good—she must find a desperate killer...or risk being haunted forever.

I received this ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tonya Kappes is a new to me author, yet her books have apparently been around for awhile! A Ghostly Undertaking was initially published in 2013 but has been reprinted this year! I love me a good paranormal mystery! Murder mysteries combined with ghosts are just a delight! Though this one has all the right elements to it, I did find myself not quite as enthralled as I had hoped. But it was still an interesting read.

Emma Lee works in a funeral home with her sister, it's a family run business that they are now in charge of after their parents retired. In Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky you get the whole small town feels. Everybody knows everybody's business and secrets are hard to come by. Add in a murderer to this mix and you can expect chaos.

Emma was just trying to tend to Ruthie Sue Payne's funeral services when suddenly Ruthie shows up wearing her pajamas trying to get Emma's attention. This is sort of a first even for Emma. She had an accident some time ago where she got hit on the head, she saw a ghost then but wrote it off as being a side effect from her injury. Now she knows that it had to be real, for Ruthie is standing there shouting that she was murdered, that her death wasn't accidental as claimed.

Emma is sweet character. I would say she might be the typical girl next door type from the South, but don't quote me on that! She's the good girl type, in that she tries to do what's right. She's respectful, has manners and all those other good traits.

She does her best to look into Ruthie's murder, especially when it looks like her own Granny is a suspect. The two of them ran an inn together and now Granny plans to sell it and Ruthie was always against that idea. Emma knows her Granny couldn't have done it, but she has to find the evidence to prove it. 

In comes the sheriff, Jack, who just happens to be Emma's old school days' crush. There are still feelings for him and he's the only one who seems to accept Emma's ability of seeing and talking to ghosts, or Ruthie at least. But Emma's pretty sure he's just being nice because he wants her particular skill to help him solve the murder case.

This was a rather quick read! I probably could've finished it in a day, but other things got in the way. I sort of pegged the murderer down, usually it's just me making a guess with no sound logic behind it and I was right! Sorta! I tend to change my guesses too, but I never really came up with a good second suspect myself! One thing that nagged at me was there was a clue of sorts that only Emma knew about. Ruthie appears to her wearing her pajamas because that's what she died in. Yet when her body was found, she was wearing clothes. It never gets said why the murderer changed her clothes. In fact, that detail gets totally forgotten about when they catch the murderer.

The pacing is what you can expect from a murder mystery read. It was a slow going kind, yet not dreadful. It builds in tension. It was kind of cute seeing Emma playing detective. She tries to do things like on the TV shows and writes a lot of things down. It's practical at least and does help with trying to remember things. Always wonder how the investigators on TV remember all those details without writing all these things down!

Overall it was a cute read. There were a few flaws, like with that one detail I mentioned towards the end. I have the second one to read for review and depending on how that one goes will help me decide if I want to continue the series. It has a bit too much simplicity for me going on, the ghost aspect is by far the most intriguing element that makes it stand out from all the other mystery reads out there.

Overall Rating 3/5 stars

A Ghostly Undertaking (Re)Releases February 24, 2015


  1. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing!

  2. It seems interesting. I have been reading a lot of these "afterlife" kinds of books. Maybe I will give it a try. Thank you for your dettailed review Jessica!

  3. It seems interesting. I have been reading a lot of these "afterlife" kinds of books. Maybe I will give it a try. Thank you for your dettailed review Jessica!


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