The beginning of a series, The Secret Spice Café, Cooking for Ghosts by Patricia V. Davis, is a both a comedy and mystery that meets the paranormal world. The setting of this series is the Queen Mary, a notoriously haunted boat where four women, who have never met before that day aside from the two who are related, have invested in a café together. The women all have different backgrounds and met together on an internet site. They move from all over to live on the Queen Mary and run the café inside the ship. Each one has their own secrets and mysteries they are keeping from one another. The ghosts that they each run into have secrets they want to share. But will one of these secrets cause a fatal disaster for the café owners?
I loved the characters in this story! The opening was fast paced, contained a lot of information, and most importantly showed the characteristics of the women by their actions. I instantly knew what kinds of temperaments the women would be have and that the four of them learning to live and work together would be interesting to say the least. I enjoyed Sarita’s character perhaps the most. She was a typical teenager struggling for independence from her mother and learning about love for the first time, but she was very thoughtful and studious as well. I loved her enthusiasm for learning, but I was intrigued at her ability to communicate with the spirits on the boat and put together a lot of the missing pieces to the mystery of several of them to help give closure to as well as piece together history for them. The love interests with all the characters felt real and were different, as were the histories of the women and how they resolved them.
The plot was also very successful with this book. There were so many different subplots being wound through the book, yet they were done beautifully. The main plot ended up being almost hysterical; reminding me a bit of maybe a British comedy, as these middle age women try to decide how to cover up what has happened without anyone finding out as their dives into the paranormal have already solved two murders and police are starting to look suspiciously at them. The end was also satisfying even though as this is a series. There was closure to the novel. There are plenty of subplots to keep the novel interesting all the way through, keep the reader guessing, and to find plenty to be excited to keep reading for. I also found it interesting that the real aspects of the history of the Queen Mary were used in the development of the book. It makes me want to go research the ship more thoroughly.
If you enjoy the paranormal, mystery, and a book that has many moments where you can’t help but laugh this the book for you. The characters are exceptional and you’ll have many favorites, perhaps even a few ghostly favorites by the end of the book. There is plenty of action and twists to keep you involved in the story as well. The editing is well done and overall the book is very professional. The author has a winning series on her hands if the first book is any indication of what is to come.