Verity Long is overdue for a little R&R with her boyfriend, Ellis. For a Ghost Hunter, a vintage train trip through the Tennessee mountains seems like just the ticket. The Sugarland Express carries history and nostalgia in every compartment, and Verity is determined to enjoy it, without ghostly interference. But the ghosts have other plans…
On a dark, bleak night nearly a century ago, the Sugarland Express was stranded in the mountains, and a young woman was found stabbed to death in her locked compartment. The murder was never solved, and a dead Belgian detective is still trying to solve the case from the grave. Adding to Verity’s dismay, all the dead suspects are back as well. When history repeats itself, and a new murder mirrors the old, it’s up to Verity and her friends, living and dead, to discover which of the passengers are behind the murders.
Series: Southern Ghost Hunter – Book 6
Author: Angie Fox
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Paranormal
Publisher: Moose Island Books
Murder on the Sugarland Express is a fun adventure through time with multiple ghost and historical reference. The very “Agatha Christie” feel of this story will keep readers turning the page and entertain them throughout.
Verity and Ellis are wonderful characters with everyday problems and a few that are extraordinary. Verity doesn’t just see ghosts, she lives with them, talks to them and tries to help them whenever she can. Ellis is a police officer, and even though most people wouldn’t believe that Verity talks to ghosts, he accepts it at face value without question. If Verity tells him a ghost told her something important, he jumps into action. Combined they make a fantastic duo of ghost hunter and crime fighter.
Other characters are warm and compassionate as well as interesting and fun. The cast of suspects are likable, intriguing and well rounded. They have characteristics that readers find in everyday life with those they know and love. Add an adorable pet skunk, and you have the makings of a memorable book.
The Sugarland Express is romantic as only old trains can be. The opulence of the cars brings to mind a time long ago when passenger travel was about the adventure and not the amount of time it takes to get from point A to point B. The setting is perfect for a mystery. Who can’t imagine a train filled with ghosts and the living intermingling on an adventure that ends in murder?
The long-dead victim is tragic while the newest victim is far from it. The motive for the murder is not readily clear and at times can seem almost absent. Clues are there to be found if the reader takes the time to look for them. The unveiling of the killer is dramatic and filled with action, and of course, ghosts.
Although Murder on the Sugarland Express is a fast-paced easy-to-read book, it is also an ode to the most famous mystery writer of all time, Dame Agatha Christie. In some ways, it is almost too close in comparison to “Murder on the Orient Express.” Take out the ghost, and the reader may well think they are reading an altered version of Ms. Christie’s book. And herein lies the problem. On its own, this book is worth reading, but the comparison to Agatha Christie’s work is inevitable and unfortunate in some ways.
Ms. Fox is a talented writer, and her passion for her craft is evident. However, writing a book that so closely resembles a rather famous one, can be hard to achieve without coming off as a copycat. Although Ms. Fox has achieved this with her book, it is difficult to read it without comparing it to Ms. Christie’s material.
This is the sixth book in the series, and some readers may not understand the references to other murders, or relationships. The inner workings of Verity’s relationship with Ellis, his brother Beau and their mother can be difficult to understand without any references to explain the situation. The book would benefit from a short introduction helping to explain how Verity finds herself in her current predicament and the intricate relationship between her and the other characters.
Over-all Murder on the Sugarland Express is an enjoyable read that will have readers interested from the first paragraph. Anyone who enjoys Agatha Christie novels will like Angie Fox’s Southern Ghost Hunter series and this book in particular.