A Ghostly Undertaking by Tonya Kappes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first book in the Ghostly Southern Mystery series by Tanya Kappes. While I enjoyed the book, I’m not sure I’d call it a mystery. More like Chick Lit with a little mystery thrown in. I liked the characters, but am not sure we really get to know them. We get to know the main character, Emma Lee, who runs the Eternal Slumber funeral home (and drives around in the hearse because she can't afford another car), and Ruthie, the dead person. We also get to know Jack Henry, the sheriff and Emma’s crush. Relationships are not well developed, though they aren’t non-existent. You know Emma is close to Granny, but you don’t really see it. She works with her sister, Charlotte, and there are hints of a relationship there, but that’s it.
The mystery revolves around who killed Ruthie. Emma can see Ruthie due to an accident she had a few months ago. Everyone thinks Emma is crazy and it’s the “Funeral Trauma.” Except Jack Henry, who believes her and doesn’t really bat an eye.
There was as much of Emma and Jack in this story as the mystery. I felt like the killer came out of nowhere, but there were hints. Honestly, the best part of the story was Emma’s growing friendship with Ruthie. Who disappears after her murder is solved. This book was equally split between Emma and Jack’s growing relationship as the mystery.
The one thing that drove me nuts was the almost universal referral to everyone by their first and middle names. I realize this is set in Kentucky and that the author is from there. I grew up in the South and while you see this sometimes, it’s not that prevalent and certainly not for an entire town. I also got a little tired of hearing the term "funeral trauma" as it kind of made it sound like everyone in the town was a little backward. This aside, I did enjoy this book and wouldn’t be averse to reading the next book in the series.
View all my reviews