Sketch Me If You Can by Sharon Pape is the first book in the new “Portrait of Crime” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), August 2010

Police sketch artist, Rory McCain never needed a partner to create a likeness of a suspect. But now, working as a sleuth on the side, she’s got a partner who’s been dead for over a century.

When Rory’s favorite uncle dies suddenly, he bequeaths to his niece a beautiful Victorian home and a list of clients from his private detective business. As Rory tries to get settled in the house, she is startled by a ghost from the 1870s—federal marshal Ezekiel Drummond, aka Zeke—who was helping Uncle Mac with his cases. In exchange, Mac had agreed to help Zeke find the killer who had shot the lawman in the back.

When Zeke proposes a similar partnership with Rory, she balks. Having a ghost as a housemate is bad enough. But as she’s drawn into one of her uncle’s unsolved cases, Rory finds she needs the help of an experienced investigator—even one who is stubborn and old-fashioned, cantankerous and sexist—not to mention long dead. Faced with a cold-blooded killer, Rory may even need the marshal’s ghostly help in staying alive herself.

Not only did Aurora (Rory) McCain inherit her uncle’s house and business, she also inherited his ghost. Rory is startled when Marshal Zeke shows himself to her as she learns the secret of her uncle’s successful business. As she is closing her uncle’s private investigating business, one client asks if she can continue the work that her uncle started. Rory takes on the case and realizes that she needs the help of the ghostly marshal. What a great beginning to a wonderful series. You can’t help but root for Rory in this action-packed and engaging story. The relationship she has with Zeke was interesting especially when I keep forgetting that Zeke is an apparition. The witty repartee between Zeke and Rory and the suspense-filled story kept me turning the pages. I look forward to reading the next book in this enchanting series.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

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