Amateur Sleuths, Spooky Help: Cozy Mysteries with Ghosts

Mystery Month 2017Places where murders occur are both creepy and fascinating. Reality television shows seek proof that ghosts are not only among the living, but trying to complete unfinished personal business. People hold seances and consult Ouija boards to communicate with the dead.

This interest and belief in ghostly spirits spills into crime fiction. The following series titles, linked to their Booklist reviews when available, feature amateur sleuths who get a little help from beyond the grave.


Aunt Dimity & the Buried TreasureAunt Dimity & the Buried Treasure, by Nancy Atherton (Aunt Dimity series)
Lori solves crimes in her small English village with the help of ghost Aunt Dimity. Lori asks questions and answers appear written in a special book. In their latest adventure, Lori finds a bracelet that belonged to Aunt Dimity and makes contemporary connections to a woman from the past.






eleventh grave in moonlightEleventh Grave in Moonlight, by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson)

Charley is a detective—and the Grim Reaper. While juggling the business of being a wife and mother, she sorts out problems for both the living and the dead. Plenty of otherworldly creatures get in her way as she works for justice in her unique, funny way.


ghost times twoGhost Times Two, by Carolyn Hart (Bailey Ruth Raeburn)

Bailey Ruth is trying to help a ghost named Jimmy get to heaven while watching over Jimmy’s living girlfriend, Megan. When Megan becomes a suspect in her boss’s murder, Jimmy urges Bailey Ruth to help before he moves on.






ghostly mortalityA Ghostly Mortality, by Tonya Kappes (Ghostly Southern Mysteries)

Emma Lee runs a funeral home in a small Kentucky town while helping the ghosts of murder victims find justice. She falls out with her sister, Charlotte Rae, over her supernatural powers. Emma does not see her again until Charlotte Rae returns to her—as a ghost. The sisters work together to learn the identity of the murderer.


ghosts of misty hollowThe Ghosts of Misty Hollow, by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Ghost of Granny Apples)

Emma is a medium who gets more advice from her Granny Apples than she would like. When Emma is called to help an author with paranormal elements in his book, a family of ghosts in the area also seek her assistance in finding the spirits of their children. When a dead body turns up, Emma, her fiancé, and Granny join together to stop a killer.






ghouls guide laurieA Ghoul’s Guide to Love and Murder, by Victoria Laurie (Ghost Hunter)

M. J., Gilley, and Heath solve crimes while producing ghostly reality films. The trio needs to recover a bewitched blade from a Boston museum exhibit while attempting to stop a killer wreaking havoc on their attempts to promote their latest film. M. J. fends off bad guys—and bad ghosts—from the present and the past.


into the grey clea simonInto the Grey, by Clea Simon (Dulcie Schwartz)

Dulcie Schwartz, anxious about finishing her doctoral dissertation at Harvard, gets angry when an unprofessional faculty member, Roland Fenderby, gets added to her review team. Her constant complaints about Fenderby make her the number one suspect when he is killed in his office at the library. Dulcie clears her name with the help of her ghost cat, Mr. Grey.






knot the usual suspectsKnot the Usual Suspects, by Molly MacRae (Haunted Yarn Shop)

Kath Rutledge inherits her family’s Tennessee needlework shop and solves crimes with the help of her TGIF group (Thank Goodness it’s Fiber). She gets plenty of help from moody ghost Geneva, whose own mystery is woven into this clever series.



rockabye bonesRock-a-Bye Bones, by Carolyn Haines (Sarah Booth Delaney)

Just before the holidays, Sarah Booth finds a baby in a basket surrounded by blood on her doorstep. She enlists the help of her detective agency partner, Tinkie, to learn how the baby might have ended up there. As the pair questions the residents of  Zinnia, Mississippi, they learn that the baby’s mother was in danger. As usual, Sarah Booth gets advice from Jitty, the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny.





spouse on haunted hillSpouse on Haunted Hill, by E.J. Copperman (Haunted Guesthouse)

Alison Kerby thought she and her daughter had escaped her ex-husband when they moved to the guest house—then Steve shows up, and he’s in trouble. With the help of ghosts Maxie and Paul, Alison works to clear his name.




About the Author:

Amy Alessio, teen librarian at the Schaumburg Township District Library in Illinois, is the author of Mind Bending Mysterious Services for Teens and co-author of A Year of Programs for Teens and A Year of Programs for Teens 2. She reviews adult and teen titles for Booklist and, blogs about vintage cookbooks and crafts, and publishes short mysteries with recipes. Visit her at

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