When Maddie Kosloski’s career flatlines, she retreats to her wine-country hometown for solace and cheap rent. Railroaded into managing the local paranormal museum, she’s certain the rumors of its haunting are greatly exaggerated. But a new ghost may be on the loose. A fresh corpse in the museum embroils Maddie in murders past and present.
With her high school bully as one of the officers in charge, Maddie doubts justice will be served. When one of her best friends is arrested, she’s certain it won’t be.
Maddie grapples with ghost hunters, obsessed taxidermists, and the sexy motorcyclist next door as outside forces threaten. And as she juggles spectral shenanigans with the hunt for a killer, she discovers there truly is no place like home.
Researching a Paranormal MuseumGuest post by Kirsten Weiss, author of The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum
What does it take to successfully run a paranormal museum and solve a murder mystery?
When I read a Wall Street Journal article about a man with a hotdog stand/paranormal museum, it got me wondering. There was something whimsical about the idea of a paranormal museum, so I dug into the research. What sort of objects would the museum exhibit? What sort of events would a paranormal museum host? ( Clearly, a high-class champagne social was not in the Tarot cards). And where would my murderer leave the body…?
The first question was fairly easy to answer. Paranormal museums typically exhibit purportedly haunted objects. And with enough imagination, you can make any object haunted – an old photo, a creepy doll, a set of throwing knives…
But as I continued my research, I discovered there could be a historical aspect to the exhibits as well. 19th century America gave birth to the spiritualist movement when two young girls, the Fox sisters, began “communicating” with a ghost in their house. The sisters became a sensation, and more and more people became fascinated by séances and mediums. The interest in the supernatural may have been a backlash against the Victorian age of science. Or perhaps it seemed that man could finally use science to prove there was life after death. In any case, mediums and spiritualist shows flourished.
This obsession with the spirits carried on well into the early 20th century, with believers like Arthur Conan Doyle battling skeptics such as Harry Houdini. And these mediums and their scientific skeptics each had tools. Charlatans used “spirit cabinets” to fool their audiences. Those who wanted to believe designed “spiritoscopes” to determine if a medium was cheating. And then there were all the “talking boards,” known today as Ouija boards.
It wasn’t hard to fill my museum with imaginary objects. But if my heroine, Maddie, was going to make a profit, she’d need to have some events as well. And that meant… ghost hunts! After all, lots of the objects were supposed to be haunted. What better place for a crew of ghost hunters?
So I finagled my way onto a local ghost hunt to learn what was what.I ended up in an old mansion at the bottom of its cistern. Lights off.I stood there in the dark, trying not to breathe too loudly and wondering why any self-respecting ghost would bother to haunt a cistern. It was just a massive underground tank for storing water (fortunately empty at the time). I wouldn’t want to hang out in a cistern alive, much less dead.
And then, my stomach growled, a sort of high-pitched squeeeeeee…
“Did you hear that?” one of my fellow ghost hunters asked excitedly.“Uh, that was just my stomach,” I said, my voice echoing off the concrete walls.“No! That couldn’t have been your stomach,” another said. “Seriously, it was my stomach.”“That couldn’t have been human. It had to be something else,” the first insisted.Now I was annoyed and embarrassed. Things pretty much went downhill from there, but at least nobody was murdered. And I did get lots of advice on ghost hunting equipment that I was able to include in The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum.
A Perfectly Proper Murder
When Maddie Kosloski’s career flatlines, she retreats to her wine country hometown for solace and cheap rent. Railroaded into managing the local paranormal museum, she’s certain the rumors of its haunting are greatly exaggerated. But then a fresh corpse in the museum embroils Maddie in murders past and present, making her wonder if a ghost could really be on the loose.
With her high school bully as one of the detectives in charge of the investigation, Maddie doubts justice will be served. When one of her best friends is arrested, she knows it won’t be. Maddie also grapples with ghost hunters, obsessed taxidermists, and the sexy motorcyclist next door as outside forces threaten. And as she juggles spectral shenanigans with the hunt for a killer, she discovers there truly is no place like home.
As if growing up in a competitive family of intelligent over achievers isn't tough enough to face once she is fired, Maddie doesn't know how to explain how she comes to run a tacky (not exactly perfectly proper) paranormal museum. The best thing going for it will be her best friend Adelle's proper tea shop next door, once the noisy distraction is completed. The worst thing might be finding a dead woman sprawled between the two businesses and Adelle's arrest.
There is so much to be discovered in this fast paced yet intriguing cozy mystery. The characters have depth as well as secrets. GD the cat plays an important role. A second murder muddies the waters. Family interactions are sure to provide complications. Are there really any good cops? What about real ghosts?
You'll enjoy spending time in the museum at all hours of the day and night trying to figure it out. I enjoy the author's writing very much. Netgalley provided me with a copy for review.
About the Author
Kirsten Weiss worked overseas for nearly fourteen years, in the fringes of the former USSR and in South- east Asia. Her experiences abroad sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.
Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes steampunk suspense and paranormal mysteries, blending her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem. Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine.
Get updates on her latest work at: http://kirstenweiss.com
Author Links:Follow her on Twitter @KirstenWeiss, or on her Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/metaphysicaldetective or at her blog at http://kirstenweiss.com