Murder in Paint & Murder in Mud, Rodney Strong
Two books from the Hitchhiker series of cosy paranormal novels based around unwilling house-husband Oliver Atkinson and his adventures with the odd and quirky. Atkinson is a stay at home husband who doesn't seem to be all that happy with that situation. Although he is trying to write a book, and there's nothing worse than housework and family commitments when it comes to sucking time away from that. Especially if you include a resident "spirit" or two in your head.
In the first in the series, MURDER IN PAINT, Atkinson finds himself "sharing" with the spirit of dead Violet Tumbleton, a woman on a mission to clear her good name, 70 years after she died. There's a stolen painting, a partnership with a con artist, and little old ladies.
In the second novel, MURDER IN MUD, the same basic premise is explored - this time the spirit is that of Angus McMurry, who wants Atkinson to prove his great, great grandson did not murder his girlfriend. There are university students, addicts, and the real murderer for Atkinson to deal with, whilst he's trying to get his daughter's birthday cake sorted.
Needless to say, this series is going to appeal to fans of the light-hearted, purposely silly side of crime fiction, and those for whom the wit comes across as that. There's nothing in this world as hard as comic crime fiction it seems, senses of humour being such contrary, hard to predict things. Having said that, there was something here that didn't quite jell for this reader. Perhaps a little too forced, perhaps a little too thickly laid on, the wit unfortunately didn't work, making for a distinct feeling of too much oh poor me on Oliver's part. Definitely one of those series from the "your mileage will vary" / "isn't it good there's books written for all of tastes" categories.
The spirit wants her name back. The con artist wants her painting back. And Oliver just wants his life back to normal. Good luck.
Oliver Atkinson’s life is busy. Between trying to write a book, children, and housework he doesn’t have time for the spirit that’s taken up residence in his head. Only she isn’t going anywhere until she gets her name back.
Central to it all is a stolen painting, that’s gone missing again leaving behind a lot of questions, and a dead body. Oliver must team up with a con artist to solve a murder. Along the way he has to deal with liars, thieves, thugs, and little old ladies.
And he needs to be home in time to do the school pick up.
Life is about to get muddy.
Oliver Atkinson thought his first ghostly hitchhiker was also his last. Until Angus McMurry arrives.
The grumpy old spirit isn’t leaving until Oliver proves Angus’s great, great grandson innocent of murdering his girlfriend.
Once more Oliver must navigate an unfamiliar world, this time consisting of university students, addicts, and a murderer.
Launching his next book is the last thing on Oliver’s mind, but one thing’s for sure, he better stay alive long enough to make his daughter’s unicorn birthday cake.