MYSTERY

The Last Curtain Call

Berkley Prime Crime. (Haunted Home Renovation, Bk. 8). Jun. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9780593097939. pap. $7.99. M
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Ghost-talking home renovator Mel Turner can’t resist taking on the job of renovating the historic Crockett Theatre in San Francisco. Of course, everyone has heard that it’s haunted, but Mel is more interested in the gorgeous fixtures and building itself. However, she’s told she has to get rid of the squatters living in the theater. Someone moves faster than Mel can, though, and one of the squatters is murdered. Mel’s traumatized by the events because she saw an audience of ghosts and a murdered usher just before she saw the dead woman dancing on stage. What’s the connection to Mel’s own house and the ghost of a Twenties starlet? This latest haunted story escalates to a dramatic conclusion.
VERDICT It’s been several years since A Ghostly Light, the last book in the “Haunted Home Renovation” series. In the meantime, Blackwell has honed her craft, and this intriguing mystery combines the best elements of Bay Area history, historic home renovation, and the paranormal. The protagonist’s family and friends add a homey feeling to an atmospheric book that will be welcomed by Blackwell’s readers and fans of Kate Carlisle’s “Fixer-Upper” mysteries.

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