THE GRAY GHOST INN by Jay Mims

gray ghost innIf you are a mystery fan, you will probably have read Agatha Christie.   This is Agatha Christie without the solemnity.  Sort of Agatha Christie.  DEFINITELY without the solemnity.

Again, we have the stranded travelers during a raging snowstorm trope, although they are not exactly stranded.  Our hero, a P.I., his menza-intelligent-but-somewhat-ditzy partner, and his long-time mentor arrive at a B&B for which they have reservations.   At the B&B are an elderly Jewish couple,  and the two owners, BFFs from college, and the brother of one of the owners.   And then it storms.  And then there is a body hanging from the rafters in the library.     That would be the body of a person whom nobody actually likes very much.   But the police can’t come immediately because of the raging storm and their other emergencies, so the folks in the place are instructed to not touch anything and just sit tight and wait for them.

Libraries in old restored mansions have rafters?  Wow.  I swear I really have to get out more.  Well, I can’t afford those swanky B&Bs.  Motel 6 for me, where they leave the lights on.

So, since they have nothing to do while awaiting the gendarmes,  our P.I. decides to investigate the death, even going so far as to have a seance.  See?  I told you — not solemn.

This is a fun — and funny — read.   Delightful enough to make us ignore the knee-deep holes in the plot, because really, who cares.   The books seems to exist as a vehicle to carry the wit of the author, and mighty indeed and charming is that wit!   Want some examples?  Okey-dokey:

Abby’s voice [Abby is the partner] broke through his thoughts as she sidled up to him.  Well, she tried sidling.  And if this were a  movie, it would have been perfect.  But, she just didn’t have that level of sleaze required for a true sidle.

Looking out of the car at the rain:

“I won’t be long, and it’s pouring out there.”   “This?”  she raised a skeptical eyebrow….  “This is nothing.  It’s just snow that can’t commit.”

And

There was a touch of doubt in her tone.  In the same way the ocean had a touch of moisture.

And as to that body in the library?

He was just hanging out, like a piñata.

Our P.I.  hero is, charming, handsome, a deep-dish liar, with a ‘patented Lady Killer 9000™ ” smile, guaranteed to turn all females into mush.  Whatta guy!  I loved him.  The whole time I was reading, I kept picturing him as Tony DiNozzo from the NCIS TV series.  dinozzo

It is told in third person, but felt like it should have been in first person, but no big deal.   You just know the author loves these characters in this book, the third in a four volume series.    But in spite of numerous and ongoing references to the events in the prior volumes, it is a stand alone, and a delightful one at that.

So, anyway, the full tale is not over until the final volume of the quartet.  But as our hero tells us,

Nothing is ever truly over, until it is over.  Which, upon reflection, does lean dangerously toward Yogi Berra’s famous quote.

 

 

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