“Dying to Know” is the first installment in a brand new mystery series “A Gumshoe Ghost Mystery.” It was published by Midnight Ink in January. Using a ghost as a detective is not new to the cosy subgenre. Carolyn Hart’s Bailey Ruth also offers ghostly investigations, but is a very different ghost than O’Connor’s version.
O’Connor’s Oliver “Tuck” Tucker is unique. He has been a police detective for 15 years and is suddenly murdered in the middle of the night by an intruder who does not also kill Tuck’s wife, Angel, or the family dog, Hercule. Is Angel somehow part of a plot to get rid of Tuck? Is his best friend, and detective partner, Theodore “Bear” Braddock the perpetrator of the crime? Bear’s attentive interest in Angel may not just be the natural desire to comfort and protect the grieving widow. Then again, there are plenty of other suspects that range from a retired mob killer, to a local businessman who wants to buy a farm where Angel’s archeological dig team is unearthing Civil War relics. Even fellow academics from Angel’s university are suspects. Plenty of potential perps for a recently deceased detective to investigate.
Tuck the ghost does not experience the stereotypical ghostly hijinx. He can’t just flit around appearing and disappearing at will. He must find an electrical source regularly to power up or he will be unable to do anything. He must rely on Angel, the only person who is able to sense his presence, for transportation and to voice his questions to suspects and witnesses. The interesting new relationship that Angel and Tuck develop after his death is a complex co-dependence that inevitably will hold both back and at the same time empower both in new and unique ways. I am looking forward to seeing how that relationship develops.
“Dying to Know” is a fast-paced, humorous exploration of the netherworld and how life goes on after death. Inevitably crimes will be committed and, fortunately, Tuck will be on the job ready to investigate through the Gumshoe Ghost series.