Walking With Ghosts
PublisherAccent Press Ltd
Date Published14 October 2013
 
 
ISBN-10190952025X
ISBN-13978-1909520257
Formatpaperback
Pages314
Price£ 12.99

Walking With Ghosts

by Jean G. Goodhind

Hotel owner ‘Honey’ Driver, police liaison officer for her association, becomes involved in a murder and a hunt for a priceless artefact when a woman is killed on a ghost walk.


Review

The city of Bath was a medieval centre of the wool trade – and it’s been fleecing its visitors ever since! The twee, pretentious, self-christened ‘Georgian City’ – motto ‘A mug and his money are soon parted’ – is one of my least favourite places, except that it is the home of that one-off Miss Marple of the hotel business, ‘Honey’ Driver.

Hannah Driver, owner of the Green River, is mid-40s, widowed, and police liaison officer on behalf of the Hotels’ Association, headed by the ghastly and very camp Casper St John Gervais, whose bible is his profit ledger.

Call Jean Goodhind ‘cosy’ if you like, but she always offers a good mystery with cleverly-constructed twists and turns, some shrewd observation and some almost laugh out loud moments – many centred on the driving of an American hotel guest and paranormal addict in her pink Cadillac. It is this guest – Mary Jane – who launches us into this third Driver adventure when she insists on Honey joining her on a birthday ghost walk in the pouring rain.

What appears the usual collection of gullible punters gather at the Garrick’s Head – a tour guide two American, a German and Swedish couples, a young man, and two middle-aged and raucous Australian women. As they are about to set off, a taxi disgorges ‘Lady’ Templeton-Jones – complete with a flat mid-Western American accent! By the end of the walk, Honey, suffering from leaking and inadequate trainers, is alone – the tour and the unlikely ‘aristocrat’ having disappeared – until the woman’s body is found the next morning.

This brings Honey back into contact with the unkempt but attractive DI Steve Doherty, not an unwelcome event, but also plunges her into a murky world of phoney titles for sale, industrial espionage, property dealing – and the hunt for a priceless modern artefact in a town full of history where everything has a price.

Honey has other problems too – her indomitable mother has been unceremoniously evicted from her horribly posh second-hand shop and is threatening to move her business into the hotel.  Additionally her daughter has a new and, as yet, unidentified boyfriend. Also Honey thinks she may be being stalked.

It’s all good, clean fun. The plot is sound and moves along at a good pace. Goodhind’s descriptions of Bath – particularly a shop called Teddyitis – are a wickedly accurate description of the town’s overbearingly mercenary attitude, and her behind-the-scenes look at running a hotel carry the stamp of authenticity.

To call a book an airport read may be considered insulting. But this is my ideal antidote to the horrors of Heathrow and just what you need to relax enough to set you up for a relaxing holiday – clever, witty, no Nordic gloom or buckets of blood, and altogether a triumph for a style of very English writing which sadly seems to be going out of fashion.

Reviewed 18 October 2014 by John Cleal