Monday, October 24, 2022

High Spirits - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: High Spirits (A Haunted Haven Mystery #2) by Carol J. Perry

Rating: Really Liked It! (3.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Set during the Christmas season, the latest novel in this exciting new supernatural cozy series from the author of the Witch City Mysteries features a New Englander transplanted to a Florida town along the scenic Gulf of Mexico when she inherits a charming, century-old—and very haunted—inn from a mysterious benefactor. Fans of Amanda Flower and Heather Blake will delight in murder, ghosts, and the heroine’s golden retriever, Finn.

Christmas lights on palm trees and Santa hats on plastic pink flamingoes are far from the snowy landscape Maureen and her beloved golden retriever, Finn, are used to. But Maureen is determined to make this a holiday to remember—which means finding a way to promote Haven House on a shoestring. Fortunately, Haven’s vintage movie theater, the Paramount, has come up with a great “Twelve Days of Christmas” idea. They’ll feature an impressive list of the best classic Christmas movies ever made—shown by one-time movie actor-turned-projectionist Decklin Monroe . . .

But nobody bothered to tell Maureen that the Paramount is haunted by the ghost of a man who was murdered a few years back. Haven’s top cop Frank Hubbard doesn’t believe in ghosts but, believing that Decklin Monroe was somehow involved, he wants a reluctant Maureen’s help.

That plan is derailed when, on the first day of the festival, a fresh murder victim is found at the theater. Now Maureen has to defend her staff and guests, while trying to keep her high-spirited resident ghosts out of the picture—before they have company for the holidays . . .

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I absolutely loved the first book in the series and couldn't resist this book!  

My Impression:   While I enjoyed this book I didn't find it to be quite as strong as the first book.  The pacing was a bit slow and there was just a bit too much going on with restoring the inn, Maureen's personal relationships, and solving the mystery all while dealing with other guests and running a pretty sizable holiday event for the hotel.  While I did enjoy all of these it did slow the pacing and at times felt a bit disjointed.

I think this suffered a bit from second book syndrome.  The foundations for the series and the characters were well explained in the first book and there is clearly going to be a deeper dive investigation into the history of the inn in later books which I am so excited about.  Unfortunately, that left this book feeling a bit influx so several future plot points were hinted at that I'm really looking forward to seeing come to fruition.

I enjoyed the mystery.  How did the murder of an elderly victim connect to the murder of a low level criminal 50 years before in the same theater?  I liked that the relationship between Detective Hubbard and Maureen is less contentious and borders on working towards a partnerships but doesn't magically flip to all unicorns and rainbows.   There's a strong cast of side characters from the other employees of the inn, to the resident ghosts, and most especially Maureen's Golden Retriever Finn.  

While I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first one I did enjoy the read and am super excited for the third book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  I've really enjoyed everything I've read by this author and am excited to see what happens in the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book? I would recommend the first book if you enjoy cozy mysteries with a hefty dash of ghosts.  

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


  1. I don't think I've read a supernatural book since Sookie Stackhouse. I was very much into the Ann Rice books about vampires. Sounds like a fun series.

  2. Let's hope this third book is just a bit better. I'm glad you enjoyed it overall.

  3. I am not often aware of 2nd book syndrome in a series, but I got it in this one. Totally agree with you. But... I will of course read Book 3 when it publishes.