Ghost of a Chance

Helen Chappell, Author
Helen Chappell, Author Dell Publishing Company $5.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-440-22567-6
Hardcover - 978-1-57490-202-0
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The ghost of Sam Wescott, erstwhile husband of irreverent reporter/sleuth Hollis Ball, is an indispensable partner as she investigates a 30-year-old murder. Sam not only contributes an occasional chapter, but his pal from the Other Side, a prominent 19th-century American author known as ""Ed,"" supplies essential information about a clue left by Renata Ringwood Clinton, whose skeleton turns up in a long-finned Cadillac forklifted from a deep creek. As in Chappell's excellent first outing, Dead Duck, the writing is unrelentingly sharp and funny (""no matter what it's like outside, once you walk into Toby's Bar and Grill it's always 4:00 a.m. in some dark night of the soul"") and the characters, even those ""in transition,"" are realistic. Renata's daughter Jennifer (star of Hopeless Hearts, the most-watched soap opera in all Maryland) and chicken tycoon Billy Chinaberry, ""Prince of Pullets,"" are new characters who stand out among the bizarre yet believable denizens of ""morally elastic"" Beddoes Island. (June)
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