Thursday, August 14, 2008

Remains of the Dead

The first in the Ghost Dusters mystery series by Wendy Roberts, The Remains of the Dead is a quick read. Despite the fact that it addresses serious matters, it manages to be light and entertaining.

Sadie, our protagonist, has an unusual business and a habit that she manages to conceal from most people: she regularly speaks to the dead. We learn more about her relationships with others -- living and dead -- than we do about her at this point in the series. For example, it may have completely escaped my attention but I had no clear idea of her age.

Surprisingly, I was more impressed by the dialogue between the living and the dead -- and by the subplots -- than I was by the plot itself. Not that it does not work, but the dialogue between Sadie and her ghosts stole the show, so to speak.

It has not ceased to amaze me that there are at least as many characterizations of ghosts and their relationships to the living as there are books that I've read in which ghosts (forgive me) appear. This book is no exception.

If you read this book, do so because it is not very densely populated with questions about souls, the afterlife and what it all means. It adheres to the rules of genre mystery writing and it has a twist. It also conveys a unique perspective on communication with the dead, an original one in my experience.