How to Seduce a Ghost by Hope McIntyre

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How to Seduce a Ghost by Hope McIntyre

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A ghost writer with commitment phobia and a soap star with a manager who is too sexy and two deaths in fires make for an entertaining and pacey story. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: June 2007
Publisher: Piatkus Books
ISBN: 978-0749937089

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Lee is a ghostwriter and she lives in a crumbling old house in Notting Hill. It's actually owned by her parents but she lives there rent-free in exchange for keeping up with the repairs, but if she doesn't look at them she can believe they're not there. She's got something of commitment phobia and although she loves Tommy, her boyfriend of eight years, she can't bear the thought of moving in with him - or he with her. But when a children's television presenter dies in a fire just down the road she wonders if she might be wise to change her mind.

Her latest project is a book for an American soap opera star, but the book's not all that it first seemed and there are complications when Lee finds herself sexually attracted to the soap star's manager. Meanwhile, her parents, who live in France, have their own problems and soon they're going to be Lee's too, along with another death after a fire.

I did enjoy this book. I sat outside in the shade one sunny afternoon and didn't move until I'd finished it. The characterisation is excellent. I surprised myself by liking Lee but I understood her need for isolation whilst she worked and her horror of Tommy's untidiness. Tommy's a great big bear of a man, occasionally impatient with Lee's reluctance to make any sort of long-term commitment but with his own feet of clay. There's good and bad in all the characters, even Buzz Kempinski, soap star Selma Walker's manager. I wanted to tell Lee to keep away from him, whilst still knowing that it would be impossible. It's a wonderful study of the relationships within families, between men and women, parents and children.

The plot is pacey. I never found myself skimming or feeling that something had been brushed over too quickly. There were moments of dramatic tension when I felt so fearful that I had to look away from the page. I did guess the name of the murderer very early on but spent most of the book thinking that it really must be someone else. There were sufficient twists and turns and red herrings in the plot to keep me turning the pages. As the murderer was unmasked I found I was holding my breath.

Hope McIntyre was born in London but she seems to have lived anywhere but in the intervening years and this probably explains why I didn't always have the feeling of being in London. There was plenty of local colour, particularly around Notting Hill where the rich are cheek by jowl with the insalubrious but the odd factual inaccuracy such as the trains from Manchester arriving at Kings Cross rather than Euston annoyed. It's a very minor niggle though in an otherwise very good book. It's McIntyre's first venture into crime fiction and I hope that it's not her last.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book to The Bookbag; finding a new crime writer is always a real pleasure.

If this type of book appeals to you then you might also enjoy Simon Beckett's The Chemistry of Death. We can also recommend A Certain Chemistry by Mil Millington.

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Buy How to Seduce a Ghost by Hope McIntyre at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Seduce a Ghost by Hope McIntyre at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy How to Seduce a Ghost by Hope McIntyre at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Seduce a Ghost by Hope McIntyre at


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