Ghostwriter Nathalie "Lee" Bartholomew travels from London to the Hamptons in her second mystery, How to Marry a Ghost, by Hope McIntyre. She's interviewing for the opportunity to write the autobiography of legendary rock star Christopher "Kip" Marriott, also known as Shotgun Marriott to the media and his fans.
Her primary reason to visit to the United States, however, is to attend the commitment ceremony of her mother to Philip Abernathy, her beau of six months, a local billionaire whom Lee has dubbed the "Phillionaire." It is, perhaps, mere coincidence that Shotgun and the Phillionaire are neighbors.
Soon after Lee gets settled in the area, two murders occur. The first of Shotgun's estranged son, whose body is washed up on shore, wearing, inexplicably, a wedding dress. The second murder is of Lee's rival in the ghostwriting business, Bettina Pleshette, whose body is found in the woods near the edge of Shotgun's estate. The most likely suspect in both murders is Shotgun himself, yet Lee discovers there may be other reasons why someone would want these two people dead.
How to Marry a Ghost is a complex mystery that has a promising start but will likely lose some readers along the way. The murders take place very early in the book, yet the story meanders for long periods without any obvious effort to bring about a resolution to the crimes. The author deserves credit for creating an intricate plot with generally interesting characters and atmospheric settings, and those willing to stick with it will be rewarded in the end.
But the many tangential subplots, and especially the seemingly endless, largely irrelevant, and at its best, wearisome storyline about Lee and her on-again/off-again relationship with Tommy, make the book feel far longer than it really is.