LOVED this book by Linda Barnes! It’s the first I’ve read by this author who has 16 previous novels, including the Carlotta Carlyle mysteries. You can be sure I’m checking to see what else the library has by her.
Em Moore is the silent, timid-but-talented writing half of a biography team. Her partner, Ted, is the charismatic, outgoing personality who handles the interviews and book publicity.
When Teddy dies in a car accident, Em needs to suck up her courage and convince her agent that she can handle finishing their current project, a biography of film director Garrett Malcolm. We are led to believe that Em needs the money, and she’ll face her fears of being in public and talking to strangers in order to keep the advance on the book.
Barnes does a fantastic job in having me feel sorry for “poor Em” all the way through the book. She has to travel to Cape Cod on her own, and the only way she makes it out of her apartment is to pretend there is a bubble protecting her from the outside world. Her first meeting with Malcolm had me cringing — his assistant is patronizing and keeps her waiting long after her appointed meeting time. Malcolm himself is self-important and intimidating. And then there’s the police detective investigating Teddy’s death. Em avoids his phone calls because she just can’t deal with one more thing on her plate.
Em has small successes facing her fears, that include surviving a confrontation with Teddy’s wife and recovering interview tapes that Teddy hadn’t sent her. And as unlikely as it seems, she and Malcolm hit it off. They begin an affair, and she is able to start writing the book in the comfort of his large Cape Cod mansion. And that’s when the story of this famous director and the tragedies in his life start to come together. All is not as it seems on the surface, however, and Em keeps digging to figure out what happened all those years ago to Malcolm and his family — and what exactly Teddy was working on before his death.
Engaging writing, clever plot twists — a recipe for a book I just couldn’t put down!
Check the WRL catalog for The Perfect Ghost