Haunting Investigation (The chesterton holte mysteries)

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9781943052011: Haunting Investigation (The chesterton holte mysteries)
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Spring 1924. The world has clawed its way back from the ravages of WWI and the Spanish Flu pandemic. The 20's are beginning to roar. Poppy Thornton lives with her Aunt Jo and her excitable cat Maestro in upper-crust Philadelphia. Poppy is determined to make a name for herself as a serious crime reporter, but is stuck reporting on garden parties and ladies' fashion. Then one day her editor assigns her to collect background information on the suicide of a prominent businessman. She soon discovers it was actually a murder... but her surprising source for this information is the ghost of a man killed alongside her father during the Great War. Even if she dared tell anyone, who would believe it? Together Poppy and her "gentleman haunt" follow the trail of a string of murders. But as their investigation narrows in on an all-too-familiar suspect, Poppy becomes a target herself― and wonders if her ghost of a partner will appear in time to keep her from joining him in the after-life.

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About the Author:

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has published over ninety novels and nonfiction works and more than seventy pieces of short fiction. She’s known for her bestselling series of historical horror novels featuring the 4000 year-old vampire Count Saint-Germain.She’s been awarded a literary knighthood by the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, a Grand Master award by the World Horror Association, was the first woman enrolled as a Living Legend by the International Horror Guild, and has received two Lifetime Achievement Awards― from the Horror Writers Association and from the World Fantasy Association in 2014.Yarbro lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with the Gang of Two (her irrepressible cats Butterscotch and Crumpet).


"Haunting Investigation, set in the late 1920s in the city of Philadelphia, is a novel that displays Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's characteristic historical accuracy and attention to detail. Here, she combines the mystery and ghost story genres to tell a suspenseful tale of murder with an engaging heroine and a well-drawn cast of characters. This diverting and involving story will leave readers both satisfied and hungering for more stories featuring Poppy Thornton and Chesterton Holte."
Pamela Sargent; award winning author, Earthseed and The Shore of Women

“If you want to read one of the best mystery writers alive...if you want to have a few delightful hours of compulsive reading, then I suggest you read this haunting Chesterton Holte mystery by the World Fantasy Award Grandmaster Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Dammit, she's that good!” (JACK DANN award winning author, The Memory Cathedral 2015-11-19)

"Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's work has haunted me all my life, and Haunting Investigation shows why. CQY is a master of the imagination and the queen of storytelling. I can't wait for her next book!" (Nancy Holder -NYT Bestselling Author, Crimson Peak: The Official Movie Novelization 2015-11-19)

“When I read a book set in a historical period, I hope for two things: an accurate setting, and characters that belong in it. When I read a mystery or a thriller, I have expectations that the characters will be ones I understand and whose fate I care about, coupled with a good puzzle whose solution I didn't see coming and strong action. When I read a fantasy, I want continuity regarding the 'magic system,' in that the rules that the writer set out early in the book are never violated, no matter where the plot goes or how complicated it became. I know, based upon many enjoyable years of reading the work of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, that I am going to find all of the above in the pages of Haunting Investigation.

Poppy Thornton is a bright young career woman, not content to become, as her friends have, merely the ornament of a man's home. She wants to become a crime reporter. The action takes place in 1920s Philadelphia, not very long post-WWI. Poppy belongs to the upper class, but is not snobbish toward the rest of society. The secondary characters are also complex: Poppy's protective but gruff editor, Lowenstein; her Aunt Jo, rigid as to the mores of her class but unable to resist indulging her very spoiled son; Eustace (Stacy), the spoiled son in question; and the decent, hardworking and inevitably smitten Inspector Loring. She's daring but not reckless.

Chesterton Holte, the eponymous protagonist of the book – series, I hope – is the ghost of a brave and determined investigator who now needs to expiate the sins of his past. He's not soft; no successful spy could be. (We get only a small portion of his history. I hope more will be revealed in subsequent volumes.) He uses his supernatural talents and connections to help Poppy investigate a string of mysterious murders that may or may not be connected.

The fantastic portions of the story were well handled. Ghosts make as unreliable eye witnesses as living beings do. Holte annoys Poppy's cat and dog by his emanations, which also affect electrical systems. I was glad to see that Poppy only gradually came to accept his existence, then rely upon him. The story moves along at a good clip, although allowing the reader to revel in and enjoy all the details of its setting and the wit of its narrator. Haunting Investigation is a good read. It might be a little cozy for those who enjoy Kevin J. Anderson's Dan Shamble, Zombie PI series, but readers of Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series will certainly enjoy it.”

(Galaxy's Edge Magazine 2015-11-19)

In Yarbro's (Sustenance: A Saint-Germain Novel, 2014, etc.) mystery/thriller, a journalist in 1924 investigates a possible murder with help from the ghost who's haunting her. With the death of accountant Madison Moncrief, Philadelphia Clarion reporter Poppy Thornton may have found her way from the society page to the front page. Sure, it looks like Madison hanged himself, but Poppy knows it was murder because Chesterton Holte, the ghost of a man who died eight years ago, told her. Poppy's investigation leads to her connecting two additional murders: the alleged suicide of James Poindexter, who worked at the same firm as Moncrief, and the irrefutable homicide of antiques dealer Percy Knott. But when Poppy gets too close to the truth, she may need more than just a helping hand from Holte. There's not much mystery in Yarbro's novel; Poppy uncovers some shadiness among potential suspects but doesn't make much headway, and Holte learns little from the ghosts of the murder vics, who can't even remember their killer(s). Yarbro, however, delivers two intriguing lead characters. Holte, for one, has chosen to haunt Poppy because he blames himself for her father's murder, which happened mere hours before Holte's own during the Great War (about which the narrative doesn't offer too many details). Holte is largely a traditional ghost―“semi-visible” in front of Poppy and prone to flickering lights―who often inadvertently scares the journalist with his sudden appearances. Poppy, for her part, is delightfully curious (befitting her profession of choice) yet hilariously oblivious to Inspector Loring's blatant flirting, even if Holte is quick to point it out. Nevertheless, Yarbro's greatest triumph is the old-school prose. Her novel reads as if it were genuinely authored in the 1920s: “ 'phone” is repeatedly written as such, as it would be if the shorthand were still around, and Poppy's go-to exclamation is “Ye gods!” The final act is decidedly more intense―Poppy may become someone's target―but the ending unfortunately lacks resolution, so readers hoping for a nice wrap-up to the mystery will likely be disappointed. Engaging characters, one already dead, highlight this loving tribute to the classic detective story.


Set in 1924, this first in a paranormal mystery series from old pro Yarbro (best known for the Saint Germain historical vampire novels) is an agreeable and inventive yarn. Poppy Thornton, a young socialite, is trying desperately to break into crime reporting for the Philadelphia Clarion when she's approached by the titular Holte, the helpful ghost of a spy executed with Poppy's father during WWI. The murder of an upper-crust acquaintance of Poppy gives Poppy her chance. The death appears connected to other crimes committed at a level of society that the working-class police and reporters have difficulty exploring. As Poppy cleverly exploits her social connections, Holte interviews the spirits of several murder victims, hindered by the fact that ghosts tend to be forgetful. It's all good fun until the action breaks off abruptly at the end. Of course, a series may have continuing themes, but this book leaves far too many plot threads dangling.

(Publishers Weekly 2015-11-20)

In 1916 France, two men are executed by the Germans. It is now 1924, and the ghost of Chesterton Holte haunts P.M. Thornton. Holte is there to assuage his guilt over the death of Thornton’s father in 1916, who was killed with Holte over a misunderstanding. P.M. is Poppea Millicent Thornton who is determined to become an ace crime reporter, like her father, for the Philadelphia Clarion. Poppy has spent too much time covering ladies’ book clubs and flower shows; she is ready for the big time. VERDICT Better known for her historical vampire series featuring le Comte de Saint-Germain, Yarbro launches a new paranormal series that offers a richly detailed look at life for women as the Roaring Twenties takes off. Poppy is a strong character who desperately wants to honor her father and not succumb to her aunt’s blandishments to marry and raise a family. A solid choice for fans of ­Alice Kimberly’s "Haunted Bookshop" mysteries or Nancy Atherton’s "Aunt Dimity" novels.

(Library Journal 2015-12-28)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781943052004: Haunting Investigation (The Chesterton Holte Mysteries)

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ISBN 10:  194305200X ISBN 13:  9781943052004
Publisher: Cleveland Writer's Press Inc, 2015

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Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Published by Smoke & Shadow Books (2015)
ISBN 10: 1943052018 ISBN 13: 9781943052011
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Book Description Smoke & Shadow Books, 2015. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1943052018

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