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How to Seduce a Ghost    by Hope McIntyre order for
How to Seduce a Ghost
by Hope McIntyre
Order:  USA  Can
Mysterious Press, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Lee Bartholomew is a loner who prefers to spend most of her time alone working. Since she works at home as a ghost writer, this is usually easy to do. She is also a worrier. She lives alone in a huge house on Notting Hill that belongs to her parents who have retired to France. She's happy with her life except that she spends an inordinate amount of time obsessing about being murdered or raped. Now, since a fire just two doors down, she's also anxious about having her house burn down with her inside. (The fire killed a young woman and the police are getting nowhere in their investigation.)

Lee's boyfriend Tommy wants to move in, but Lee vetoes the idea as she has for years. She loves him and feels safer when he is around, but she doesn't think she can stand having him or anyone else around all the time. As a compromise, she rents out her backyard summer house. She's sure she will feel safer just knowing someone else is close by. Lee's current ghost writing assignment is a book for a soap opera star, whose manager/husband is doing everything he can to put a halt to it. Another fire closer to home gets Lee involved with a brooding police officer and the investigation of two murders by fire. She and Tommy are on the outs and she's not about to give in. She allows herself to be seduced by the wrong person and is trapped into dealing with lies told to almost everyone.

How to Seduce a Ghost is a misleading title, as the book is a serious whodunit rather than a comedy. Hope McIntyre has written an excellent mystery with a plot filled with interesting characters, red herrings, and twists. Lee is an intriguing protagonist who realizes she is much more flexible and capable than she ever imagined. Her unusual relationship with Tommy is a bonus that keeps the reader guessing about the outcome of their relationship.

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