A Spirited Gift is the third story in this series, but the first one for me; I thought I’d try one out of order, by authors I really enjoy, to see how it feels to read a series not knowing what is going on.
The protagonist in this series is Mayor Dae O’Donnell of Duck, North Carolina (so many great mysteries written about the South – love it!), and she has a rather spookily uncanny talent. She finds things. Part of it may be an ability of psychometry (being able to learn things by touching an object) but some of it is an instinctive, paranormal “knowing.” She sometimes has premonitions, visions, of things happening or about to happen.
If her life isn’t stressed enough as it is, she is dealing with a long-lost, thought-dead father and a pirate ghost who insists that she solve his 200-year-old case, and prove his innocence. Whew! Dae has a mayoral responsibility first, though, and she is off to the Blue Whale Inn for a mayor’s conference. Twenty mayors are descending upon the Inn, the finest of North Carolina’s elected.
Before they can get down to business, they are swept up—quite literally—in an overnight hurricane which batters the inn, frightens the participants, and derails the conference before it can begin. The Inn is owned by Dae’s boyfriend, Kevin, and he is just getting things up and running when the weather ruins many of his plans for the beautiful old building. It doesn’t help when one of the mayors is found squashed under a toolshed, and a diamond-and-ruby ring gives Dae some insight to the crime when she touches it.
Dae continues to juggle her dad and her pirate ghost while trying to support her boyfriend and find out how the body got in the toolshed (or under it?) and who is responsible. A great cozy with a twisty-turny plot that keeps you turning pages long after you should have turned out the light! Oh, and by the way, this book stands alone, without reading the rest of the series, just fine, although now feel the urge to go backward and catch up with the first two.
I have enjoyed the Lavenes’ mysteries for some time and have read all of their Renaissance Faire mysteries and some of the Peggy Lee Garden mysteries. Good reads, well-written, and fun to share with others who like to curl up with a good book.