A Salem B&B Mystery #1 by Traci Wilton
Published on: July 30, 2019
A new cozy mystery series set in Salem, Massachusetts. Charlene Morris needs a fresh start after the death of her husband and buys an estate in Salem in order to open a Bed-and-Breakfast. What she doesn’t know is that her first guest is already there.
A grieving young widow, Charlene needed a new start–so she bought a historic mansion, sight unseen, and drove from Chicago to New England to start turning it into a bed-and-breakfast. On her first night in the house, she awakens to find a handsome man with startling blue eyes in her bedroom. Terror turns to utter disbelief when he politely introduces himself as Jack Strathmore–and explains that he used to live here–when he was alive. He firmly believes that someone pushed him down the stairs three years ago, and he won’t be able to leave until someone figures out who. If Charlene wants to get her business up and running in time for the Halloween tourist rush, and get this haunting houseguest out of the way, she’ll have to investigate. Though truth be told, this ghost is starting to grow on her . . .
I’ll be honest cozy mysteries are always hit-or-miss with me. So when in the first paragraph we learn the main character had bought an 8,000 sq ft house sight unseen my internal response was already a little disbelieving and was doubting how the book review would go. But, it won me over. I still find buying that kind of house like that a bit odd, but there is a charm within the story that kept me engaged and entertained. Somewhere between Charlene meeting Jack (the ghost) and all the house setup she needs to do in order to open the B&B is a lovely story about a woman trying to move forward in life. She’s not ready to begin dating yet, but you can tell she’s getting there.
This first book leads up to right before she opens the B&B and handles all the preparations she has to make in order to get it ready – purchasing furniture and other decorative items, hiring staff, marketing, and learning more about the town so that she can recommend restaurants and sight-seeing places. However, she does all this while also trying to solve Jack’s murder because after all, who wants a ghost in the house to scare guests away? Under the premise of trying to find more information about the property she lives in so that she can do a write-up for the guests, Charlene begins to ask questions…a lot of questions. This causes her to make friends and then to really annoy them. Now that I’ve finished the book, I’ll be curious to see what some of the relationships are like in the next book. Have some of these folks forgiven her or gotten over her questions? Or, maybe we don’t see them again and so it’s all good. I got the impression, though, that a few of them are reoccurring characters so I suspect we’ll find out.
The ghost is a likeable character who floats in and out of the story. His emotions sometimes seem to Charlene to be a little uneven – she suspects it is due to him being a ghost or the topic of his murder. It will be nice to see how the relationship changes now that everything is out in the open and there are no more secrets out there.
I also hope we get more of the minor character Minnie in the upcoming books- when she is around there is more of a homey atmosphere about the place and story. I also see her as someone Charlene can potentially confide in and discuss certain issues or questions with in future mysteries.
At the end is a sneak peak of the next book in the series: Mrs. Morris and the Witch. If you are a fan of cozy mysteries, I definitely recommend giving this one a try. It has a nice premise and good cast of characters and with it being a B&B there is a lot of opportunity for side stories that can keep us entertained.
Rating: 4 stars
Thanks to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to provide and honest opinion.