Haunting at Ocean House: A James Murray Mystery

Rated 4.00/5 based on 1 reviews
Los Angeles. 1939. Writer James Murray and his wife, a famed newspaper reporter, set out to investigate a famous mystic who holds seances for the rich and powerful of Hollywood in this, the fifth and concluding James Murray Mystery. Someone is trying to convince others that the dead niece of a famous actress is out for revenge. Can James and his wife team up to solve the mystery? More

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About Christopher Geoffrey McPherson

In more than three decades as a professional writer/journalist, Christopher has covered myriad subjects and interviewed thousands of people from the famous to the unknown. He brings these years of experience to each of his novels.

In his career, his work has appeared in daily newspapers, monthly magazines, extensively on radio and the occasional dalliance with television. He has written advertising copy and radio commercials – and continues to write.

Prior to his new novel, called “A Cat in Time” about the most famous cat in ancient Japan, Christopher spent more than five years creating a series of novels that take place in 1930s Los Angeles called “The James Murray Mysteries.” Books in the series are "Murder at Eastern Columbia," “Sabotage at RKO Studio,” “Abduction at Griffith Observatory,” “Blackmail at Wrigley Field,” and the newest “Haunting at Ocean House.”

Other writing featuring his byline includes “22: The Biography of a Gun” – a tale set in the near future where guns are strictly controlled yet where one manages to make its way into the hands of those who want it; "The Babi Makers" – a science fiction tale about a world where the most important resource is babies; "Sarah & Gerald" – a novel about Paris in the 1920s; "Forever - and other stories" – a collection of short stories; "The Life Line" – the novel of the big one that levels San Francisco; "News on the Home Front" – a novel of two friends during World War Two; and "Mama Cat" – a book for children. Also, several short plays, a few radio plays and a boatload of radio documentaries.

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Review by: Sheila Deeth on Nov. 18, 2015 :
This fifth book in the James Murray Mysteries is again set in a meticulously researched and convincingly rendered 1930s LA. The twin characters, James Murray enjoying newly married life, and the nameless detective of his novels, are engaged in parallel mysteries of seances, murder and mayhem. Meanwhile the reader is quickly engaged by smoothly convincing dialog and prose, and by that overarching mystery of how one story will feed itself into the other.

The viewpoints of James, his wife Arden, and the fictional detective all blend and part very smoothly throughout the novel. Scenes are viewed through different pairs of eyes, revealing different secrets and ideas, and engaging the reader convincingly in each character’s approach. Well-timed recaps of previous storylines offer immediate reminders and bring the backstories quickly into focus. Meanwhile short chapters with enticing reminders make each section stand alone; the novel can be read in one long session filled with satisfying twists and turns, or many shorter ones, just as the novel Jamie’s writing will be written in long and short bursts.

LA has grown larger and grander since the first James Murray mystery. Following the city’s growth as well as the character’s is immensely satisfying to the reader, and the gap growing between James and his alter ego feels perfectly timed, leading onward to a well-drawn conclusion where fake seances, clever trickery, and mysterious disquiet all resolve into satisfyingly mysterious answers. The solution, or solutions, is neither too obvious nor too obscure in the end, and the novel draws smoothly to a close.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
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