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An In-specter Calls: Books Where Ghosts Help Solve A Mystery

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P.N. Hinton

Contributing Editor

Born into a family of readers, P.N. gained a love reading as a sort of herd mentality. This love of reading has remained a life long passion, resulting in an English Degree from The University of Houston in Houston, Texas. She normally reads three to four books at any given time, in the futile Sisyphean hope of whittling down her ever growing to be read pile of no specific genre.

Regardless of the specific book genre, I love a good ghost story. I particularly enjoy it when the ghosts help to solve a mystery of sorts, regardless of how low or high the stakes may be. This trope opens up the door for multiple types of ghosts as well. There are kind ghosts as well as ones that are less than. We also have ghosts who can speak, which is extremely helpful in the long run. But then there are ones that are struck with silence which makes it a bit more tricky. 

The audience for these types of stories is also very vast. By that I mean it is not restricted to just one reading or maturity level. I know the first book on the list was my gateway as I suspect it was for a lot of other readers, too. It is a trope in novels that can be delightful, chilling, or a combination of the two. 

Below are just a few books that fall under this umbrella that may strike your fancy. As always be sure to check for the various trigger and content warnings, especially for some of the older titles.

Young Adult Books

cover of The Dollhouse Murders

The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright

When Amy’s aunt invites her to stay with her for a few weeks, she jumps at the chance to get a break from being a secondary caregiver for her neurodivergent sister Louann. There she finds a dollhouse that belonged to her aunt and is entranced by it. Then she begins to notice that it seems like the dolls are moving on their own and wonders if it is somehow connected to the unsolved murder of her grandparents years prior.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas Book Cover

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel is determined to prove to his family that he is a true brujo and, along with his BFF/best cousin Maritza, sets out to prove this by raising the ghost of another recently murdered cousin. However, he ends up raising the ghost of fellow classmate and ‘bad boy’ Julian instead. Together the two have to work together to figure out what happened to Julian so he can cross over peacefully or risk becoming a malevolent ghost that Yadriel’s family would have to destroy.

cover image of Say Her Name by Juno Dawson

Say Her Name by Juno Dawson

When Bobbie is dared to call for Bloody Mary by some of the mean girls at her boarding school, she does it thinking it will be a harmless joke. The next day she receives a message in her bathroom mirror that just reads “Five days.” After that comes a race against time to solve the mystery of what happened to the young woman aided only by her friends and the clues that Mary leaves for them to try to assist them in their goal.

Anna Dressed in Blood book cover

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

After his father died, Cas takes up his vocation of killing the dead. When he moves with his mother to a new town and hears about the titular Anna, he knows that is his next job. What he didn’t expect was how powerful Anna would be though or that she would spare his life. Once he recovers from their encounter, the two begin to work together to solve the mystery of what happened to Anna and why she is so hell-bent on revenge against anyone who comes into her house.

Adult Books

Murder in G Major book cover

Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon

When violinist Gethsemane finds herself stranded in Ireland, she has little choice but to take up the role of the orchestra conductor for a private school. At least it comes with the role of cottage caretaker, which helps her with a place to live. However, the cottage also comes with the ghost of famed composer Eamon, who was accused of murdering his wife before taking his own life. Once Eamon discovers Gethsemane can see him, he implores her to help solve the mystery of both of their deaths to help clear his name.

cover of The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Cleo Coyle as Alice Kimberly

When the widowed Penelope opens up a bookstore with her aunt, she is looking forward to starting a new chapter of her life. This fresh start seems to be in danger when a beloved author drops dead in her shop the day of his planned event and then Penelope starts seeing the ghost of murdered PI Jack. Is this all in her head or is he a ghost that is tied to her to help her solve this mystery before her business folds?

cover of Keep Me Ghosted

Keep Me Ghosted by Karen Cantwell

In this first installment of a duology, we meet Sophie and her ghostly companion Marmaduke, AKA Marmi. Desperate for money, Sophie has recently taken a job as a receptionist for optometrist Dr. Cal and quickly develops a crush on him. As she soon finds out though, someone else has a crush on the good doctor — Moonflower, a ghost who does not take kindly to Sophie or Marmi. When her spiritual tantrums threaten his business and their possible future, Sophie resolves to figure out the mystery behind Moonflower’s death, her attraction to Dr. Cal, and a way to get her to move on.

the cover of White Horse

White Horse Erika T. Wurth

Kari is doing her best to live in the present and ignore the past, including the memories of the mother who left her when she was 2 years old. When her cousin gifts her a bracelet that belonged to her mom, Kari begins to see her ghost along with a mysterious creature. She must then solve the mystery of what really happened to her mother all those years ago to help let go of the literal and figurative ghosts haunting her.

If you’re looking for some books with ghostly vibes, hopefully one of these struck your interest! For more ghostly reads, check out the posts below.