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Monday, April 19, 2021

Review - Pressed to Death

I reviewed the first in The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum (click here).  I finished the troublesome second book (always harder on the second book to keep up the momentum.)  Find out how this book stacked up. 

Author: Kirsten Weiss

Copyright: June 2020 (Misterio Press) 338 pgs

Series: 2nd in A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery series

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy mystery with ghostly touches, amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Maddie Kosloski, new manager of Paranormal Museum and skeptic 

Setting: Modern day in small town San Benedetto in central California

Obtained Through: library

Book blurb: "It's Halloween season in San Benedetto, and paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski has the perfect paranormal exhibit for the harvest festival – a haunted grape press. But before she can open the exhibit, she’s accused of stealing the antique press. And when her accuser is found murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie.

Solving the crime is the last thing on Maddie’s mind, but her mother insists she investigate. Does her mother have a secret agenda? And why has the local charity, Ladies Aid, seemingly gone gangster?

In this light, cozy mystery, haunted houses, runaway wine barrels, and murder combine in a perfect storm of chaos. Facing down danger and her own over-active imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum."

Maddie Kosloski is settling into her unexpected career running and sprucing up a paranormal museum while dealing with her pressuring mother. Adele Nakamoto is her close friend who runs the adjacent tea room and daughter of a vineyard owner/mayor. Harper Caldarelli is another close friend and a financial advisor. Adele and Harper prove they are good friends in this addition to the series. Blond hunk Mason Hjelm who runs a motorcycle shop next door to the museum is her boyfriend and there is trouble when an old girlfriend shows up. Detective Slate (Laurel's partner) is a subdued potential romantic interest on the sidelines.  Detective Laurel Hammer is Maddie's nemesis from high school who looks for connections to Maddie in the murder.  The museum cat, GD for Ghost Detecting, is an interesting adjunct staff for the museum.   

The setting is mostly around the harvest festival and the paranomal museum (voted tackiest museum in town).  I enjoyed all the wine and grape related items in the story that were great touches.  I felt like I was in the middle of a wine focused community.

There is a subplot of the haunted grape press. The subplot has a haunting that presents its own little mystery and once that is solved the "haunting" is over. The subplot is always subtle, adding a little fun. The story kept my attention and made an enjoyable escape. The killer reveal was exciting and daring. It was done a little differently but it worked well.

This is a fun cozy mystery if you are looking for a lite book to pass the hours that has a rocky road for romance, a subplot that adds a smidgen of ghostly atmosphere, and a murder mystery to puzzle over.  It isn't perfect, for those who can't get beyond the author's use of providence when it should be provenance or the incorrect spelling of memento mori this isn't for you. But if you want a wine themed fun cozy with a dash of paranormal to entertain you for a few hours, this is the book. 

Rating:  Pretty Good - A fun read with a few minor flaws. 

Here is a short video on a similar type of wine press that is featured in the book (although not antique).

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