In GHOST AT WORK, Bailey Ruth Raeburn sure did enjoy her
detective caper. Since then, the dead (yet lively) Bailey Ruth has
been hoping against hope that she will receive another rescue
assignment back on Earth. Sure, she had broken quite a few of those
pesky Precepts for Heavenly Visitation laid down by heaven’s
Department of Good Intentions head officer, Wiggins, who
made it plain that he did not approve of her many hijinks. But
Bailey Ruth has high hopes that Wiggins will overlook her previous
actions, such as transforming from spirit to flesh-and-blood human
in front of people.
To her intense delight, Wiggins takes into account Bailey
Ruth’s love for Christmas and general gusto in deciding that
she should perform a rescue mission in her hometown of Adelaide.
The ghost detective is beside herself with joy. As she arrives in
front of the Pritchard mansion, she gasps at the elaborate holiday
decorations --- and can’t resist taking a flying detour to
peek in on her own two adult children before returning to the scene
of her rescue mission. She is just in time to see a woman set a
small boy down on the porch before leaving him. Bailey Ruth knows
that four-year-old Keith is the person she is there to protect,
although she doesn't know yet from whom.
The invisible Bailey Ruth watches as a young woman named Peg
ushers Keith into the house. She and another young lady, Gina, are
startled when they open the envelope Keith holds to discover that
the little boy is the grandson of Susan, the mansion's owner. No
one knew that Susan’s deceased son had a child. Susan, who
thought she had no family related to her by blood, is over the moon
with delight. Her rapture is only broken by the knowledge that she
suffers from a terminal cardiac disease and won’t live to see
Keith grow much older. The rest of the family are related to Susan
by marriage --- and knowing that Keith will inherit Susan’s
mansion and considerable fortune changes how they foresee their
When Susan meets with her lawyer in order to write up a new will
naming Keith as her major beneficiary, deadly forces are set in
motion. Bailey Ruth has her work cut out for her. Every person who
expected to inherit a fortune from Susan could be motivated to do
anything in his or her power to make sure that either the new will
is never legalized or that the new beneficiary is not able to take
advantage of it. But there are so many suspects; how can she
possibly narrow the list down before it’s too late?
It’s just a good thing that Bailey Ruth is on the case with
her ghostly bag of tricks…although she just might (heck, you
can bet she will) have to transgress against
Wiggins’s Precepts for Heavenly Visitation to ensure the
well-being of her young client.
MERRY, MERRY GHOST is another truly delightful read and a worthy
successor to the equally charming GHOST AT WORK. Author Carolyn
Hart infuses her heavenly heroine with a sassy personality and
enormous warmth. The plot is lively with plenty of twists and turns
and a plethora of hilarious scenes.
Hollywood, are you onto the Bailey Ruth series yet? Each novel
would make a wonderfully madcap movie. In the meantime, MERRY,
MERRY GHOST is the perfect curl-up-in-front-of-the-fireplace
antidote for holiday stress/blues/mayhem.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on January 7, 2011