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An Intimate Ghost (Jane Lawless Mysteries) Paperback – February 10, 2005

8 customer reviews
Book 12 of 22 in the Jane Lawless Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An urgent message summons Jane Lawless to an unexpected psychedelic spectacleâ€"the entire wedding party of a schoolteacher acquaintance tripping outâ€"in Lambda Awardâ€"winner Hart's 11th assured mystery (after 2001's Merchant of Venus) to feature the Minnesota restaurateur and sometime sleuth. Someone has slipped a hallucinogenic mickey into Jane's catering staff's delectable comestibles, causing much embarrassment, litigation and one life-threatening injury when the groom leaps into an empty swimming pool. The poignant history of the groom's father, Alden Clifford, provides the ballast for this richly layered narrative, in which the suspense builds as the author slowly reveals the defining moment that overshadows all Alden's subsequent actions. Jane's longtime sidekick and co-investigator, Cordelia Thorn, is as diverting as ever, while the romantic atmosphere of Jane's Lyme House restaurant and the piquant offerings on the upscale menu will delight fans of culinary cozies. Touches of humor offset the heartfelt woe. Incorporating societal ills torn from the headlines, Hart bares the weaknesses in her well-realized characters as well as their strengths. Despite a plot refreshingly short on guns and gore, the tension is palpable in this spunky page-turner.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Jane Lawless is back, causing fans of Hart's long-running series to cheer, and fighting crime again after a wedding she caters becomes chaotic and life-threatening because someone spiked the buffet with hallucinogens. At her side again is trusty, witty regional theater exec Cordelia Thorne. But what's this--Cordelia playing Auntie Mame to the toddler her sister dumped with her? Yup, and as Auntie educates the little one in the finer points of film noir while discovering the dramatic depths of Kermit and Miss Piggy, amateur sleuth Jane sorts through molestation accusations against a friend, a possible new love interest, a decades-old unsolved kidnapping and murder, magic mushrooms that implicate one of her catering staff, and a corpse or two. The narrative flashes back to the early 1970s, though the bulk of the action is set in contemporary Minneapolis, where Jane's fine restaurant, the Lyme House, may suffer from wedding-reception fallout. Hart keeps us turning the pages as she cleverly shows past sins contaminating current lives. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Jane Lawless Mysteries (Book 12)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312317484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312317485
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,311,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ellen Hart is the author of twenty-five crime novels in two different series.?? She is a five-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery, a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Popular Fiction, a three-time winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award, a recipient of the Alice B Medal, and was made an official GLBT Literary Saint at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans in 2005. ?? Entertainment Weekly??named her one of the "101 Movers and Shakers in the Gay Entertainment Industry." For the past twelve years, Ellen has taught "An Introduction to Writing the Modern Mystery" through the The Loft Literary Center, the largest independent writing community in the nation. Ellen's newest Sophie Greenway mystery is No Reservations Required, (Ballantine, June 2005). The Mirror and the Mask, the seventeenth Jane Lawless mystery, was released by St. Martin's/Minotaur in November 2009.?? Ellen lives in Minneapolis with her partner of 32 years.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lori L. Lake on April 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In this 12th installment of the Jane Lawless mystery series, the opening prologue begins with a gripping kidnapping that takes place on Halloween in 1972. The circumstances of that prologue don't connect up for some time, but the shadow of the kidnapping hangs over the events that follow. In the present day, Jane Lawless is called to the location of a wedding her staff is catering. The guests are behaving oddly, and it quickly becomes clear that they've been poisoned with something hallucinogenic. The police come, and the wedding guests are rushed to the hospital, but not before the Nick, the bridegroom, is badly injured diving into an empty swimming pool. Jane is frantic. Not only is she upset that people have been injured after eating her catered food, but she also fears lawsuits. Who would do such a terrible thing? She can't believe her workers would have anything to do with it. Why has she been targeted?
Alden Clifford, the groom's father, is a high school teacher, and he comes to the forefront as it becomes apparent that the attack might be connected to him and not about Jane at all. Six months earlier he had tried to prevent a school shooting, and the boy with the gun eventually shot and killed himself. Allegations about Alden's relationship with the boy come out, and Jane begins to wonder if this has made Alden the intended target. Nothing is immediately resolved, and Jane and The Lyme House are under police investigation. Jane turns to her best friend, Cordelia, but Cordelia has her own problems: namely a toddler dumped upon her doorstep by her sister. The little niece and Cordelia offer some great comic moments, and Cordelia, all by herself, is always funny. She refuses to ride in Jane's new Mini Cooper, calling it the "Daisy Duck-mobile.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In Evergreen High School in Minneapolis, student Cullen Hegg pulls out a gun in the middle of a history class but his teacher Alden Clifford manages to talk the sophomore into letting the rest of the students leave. When it's just the two of them, Alden tries to talk Cullen out of using the gun but the despondent boy kills himself. The teacher is lauded by the media, the faculty and the other students from preventing even more bloodshed, but Alden doesn't think of himself as a hero and avoids publicity.
Several months later Jane Lawless, owner of the Lyme House Restaurant and Pub, caters the wedding ceremony of Alden's son Nick and Lauren Bautel.. However, someone placed hallucinogens into the food leading to Nick diving into an empty swimming pool and winding up in Intensive care. Jane identifies the culprit who flavored the food finally makes contact with him. Jane agrees to meet him at the hotel where he is hiding out. When she arrives, he is already dead and the murderer got away which means Jane is going to have to approach the problem from a different angle without getting herself killed.
Ellen Hart has written a very complex and fascinating amateur sleuth novel that has many sub-plots that tie back seamlessly to original theme. Through the use of flashbacks, readers gradually realize how the crimes of three decades ago are the catalyst for the dangerous felonies that are happening today. The heroine gradually pieces together the motivations for the death of her employee and the sprinkling of drugs in the food at the wedding buffet. INTIMATE GHOST deserves a Lambda Award consideration.
Harriet Klausner
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cheri Crystal on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ellen Hart is the mistress of mystery. "An Intimate Ghost" is no exception to the wonders of the remarkably talented, award-winning author known for her intricate plots, witty dialogue, flawless characterizations, and engrossing stories. "An Intimate Ghost," the continuation of the Jane Lawless series, touted as the best one yet, has been deservedly nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and the Golden Crown Literary Society Award for 2005.

Jane Lawless has had formal training as a restaurateur, consummate chef, and caterer. In the continuing saga about the amateur detective, wedding guests start acting weird after ingesting gourmet food catered by her company. WHO poisoned the food, WHAT did they use, WHERE was it executed, WHEN did they do it, and WHY... are the questions Jane wants to figure out. Never mind that the police have started their investigation. Jane could be found culpable, and wants to clear her company's name. Even if the wedding hadn't been for her friends, Nick and Lauren Clifford, and Nick hadn't ended up in critical condition from a drug-induced dive into an empty pool, Jane still would have had to solve the mystery. It's not surprising that she enlists the help of her trusty sidekick, Cordelia Thorn, if for nothing other than comic relief. Jane and Cordelia are just hysterical together and they make a perfect crime solving team.

The fact that Cordelia, the creative director of a repertory theater, is a bit pre-occupied when her sister, Octavia, literally drops her kid in her aunt's lap and takes off for stardom, doesn't stop the dependable Cordelia from helping her best friend Jane. Cordelia is hardly the mother hen type and her life is disrupted beyond compare by the addition of niece Hattie.
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