Monday, May 10, 2021

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (Haunted Bookshop Mystery #&) by Cleo Coyle

Rating: Liked It
Source: Publisher

Description:  While gathering a collection of vintage book cover paintings for a special event in her quaint Rhode Island bookshop, Penelope discovers a spooky portrait of a beautiful woman, one who supposedly went mad, according to town gossip. Seymour, the local mailman, falls in love with the haunting image and buys the picture, refusing to part with it, even as fatal accidents befall those around it. Is the canvas cursed? Or is something more sinister at work?

For answers, Pen turns to an otherworldly source: Jack Shepard, PI. Back in the 1940s, Jack cracked a case of a killer cover artist, and (to Pen's relief) his spirit is willing to help her solve this mystery, even if he and his license did expire decades ago.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  How could I pass up a book that involves cover art and a haunted portrait?  

My Impression:  I absolutely wanted to love this book.   I love the concept.  I like Pen and her relationship with her son and aunt.  I love the day to day book store running business and I found the cover art exhibit fascinating.  I really enjoy the bits with Jack Shepard and getting a peek into crimes that happened in the 1940s.  Jack is quite the character and and a good mix of savvy and sarcastic.  

The mystery was interesting.  Is it murder or an accident?  Is the painting really cursed or are all the bad things happening coincidence?  Or is there something else going on?  I do love a mystery that has lots of questions and this definitely held up that end of the bargain.  So I did enjoy it but I just didn't love it quite the way I expected to.  The primary issue was that the pace of this one felt on the slow side.  Even though the first body appeared pretty early on the story itself didn't really feel like it really started gaining traction until halfway through.  

I did like this one and I really enjoyed the characters though I do wish this had been just a bit faster paced.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I've enjoyed Cleo Coyle's coffee house series books and I think this series has potential but I'll probably only pick them up when I'm in the mood for a slower read.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  As long as you're not looking for a fast read and you enjoy cozies I think you'd like it.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. This seems like such a rare concept! I can't really think of many books with haunted paitings, or even magical paintings, that I've read recently

  2. I like your review--and agree about reading preferences. I like stories with a quicker plot, which is why I'm reading a lot of thrillers these days. But I still go back to cozies from time to time when I'm in the mood for a slower pace.

  3. It's amazing how many cozy mysteries are out there and about different topics.

  4. That's what I found with the Irish Sheila O'Connor books, too slow paced. However it does sound like it's got characters that appeal and I find that always helps.

  5. I have only read one of this author's books and I liked it but didn't love it so she isn't an author I run to. I do want to read more by her though.

  6. Too bad that this was a slower read. I tend to enjoy cozies with a faster pace.