Tag Archives: Ghosts

Schweizer, Mark. The Tenor Wore Tapshoes. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2005.

With writing that compares the rustling of a woman’s gown to the sounds of a cockroach rooting in a sugar-bowl, it’s safe to say that Police Chief Hayden Konig will never join the greats of American literature. Still, he insists on trying, even purchasing an old typewriter that once belonged to Raymond Chandler. Mr. Chandler, and his pipe, even show up on occasion to compliment Hayden’s efforts. Poor prose and ghostly sightings notwithstanding, Konig is an excellent police chief, and a talented organist at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in the small, sleepy mountain town of St. Germaine, North Carolina.

Hayden has just settled in from his last crime-solving adventure, which included the theft of a valuable diamond, a dead chorister, and multiple trips to England. You’d think that life would resume its leisurely pace, but this is just when St. Germaine chooses to get…interesting. First, there’s the body that parishoners discover hidden in the altar at St. Barnabas. Next, the local bakery produces a miraculous cinnamon bun in the shape of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is soon stolen. Poor Hayden loses a bet with his beautiful girlfriend Meg, and is made to enroll in a program designed to help him discover his religious masculinity, known simply as the Iron Mike Men’s Retreat. As if this weren’t enough, an itinerant preacher blows into town with his large revival tent and a feathered assistant known as Binny Hen the Scripture Chicken, who helps him select passages from the Bible.

Reeling from the amount of insanity a small town can apparently inflict in such a short time, Chief Konig somehow also finds time to be troubled by the arrival of a charming attorney called Robert Brannon, who immediately worms his way into everyone’s heart, and the very center of church politics. Hayden is also perplexed by the crimes that have sprung up throughout the community–very specific crimes that seem to follow a popular hymn depicting the trials of the saints. Will Konig solve all, or any of these mysteries? More importantly, will he have time to pay attention to what, or who, really matters? And will she say yes?

Check the availability of this title in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Ann Hite. Ghost on Black Mountain. New York: Gallery Books, 2011.

Nellie Clay falls hard for winter-eyed, curly-haired Hobbs Pritchard. In no time at all they are married, paying no heed to Nellie’s mama, who warns that she sees death in her tea leaves. It’s 1939, and despite the Depression that the country is in,  it’s the modern world. Who believes in ghosts and hoodoo? Hobbs brings Nellie home to Black Mountain, a very different world than the one Nellie grew up in near Asheville. For a time, she’s happy, despite their neighbors’ coldness and the strange rumors she keeps hearing regarding her husband. But slowly she discovers that Hobbs Pritchard isn’t the man she thought he was, and she begins to dread hearing his tires on the gravel outside.

And she begins seeing people. There’s an old woman in the house with steel gray hair, and a small man with round glasses who walks the Pritchard land. Only Shelly, the Pritchards’s sometime maid, sees them too. Nellie knows that she has to get off Black Mountain, but Hobbs is squarely in her way. One dark night everything falls apart, and Nellie does leave Black Mountain for good…or so she thinks.

Told through the eyes of five women touched by the murderous cruelty of Hobbs Pritchard, Ghost on Black Mountain is set against the rich beauty of the Appalachians. Linked by blood, common experience, and the ability to see “haints,” each woman nonetheless has a unique voice that engages the reader with its compelling tale.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog. 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Hite, Ann, Mountains

Nicholas Sparks. The Best of Me. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2011.

Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole both live in Oriental, North Carolina, but they might as well be from different planets. Amanda is a daughter of one of the oldest, most respected families in the town, while Dawson’s kin make up the resident drunks, hoodlums, and moonshiners. But Dawson is different, and when he and Amanda bond over a high school chemistry assignment, their friendship soon turns to true love. When you’re seventeen and in love, life is difficult – Amanda’s parents are outraged at their daughter’s choice of boyfriend, and finally refuse to pay for college if she continues to date him. Divided, the two move far away from one another. Hardened by an unfair prison sentence and family violence that he barely escapes, Dawson finally finds refuge in New Orleans, but Amanda is always in his heart.

Years later, the death of a mutual friend reunites them in Oriental. In fulfilling their deceased friend’s final wishes, they begin to wonder if they might find happiness in life after all…but Amanda is married, and Dawson’s family has a long memory for revenge. With a compelling cast of small-town characters, a gripping plot, and just a touch of the supernatural, longtime fans of Nicholas Sparks will not be disappointed in his latest offering.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog. 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Pamlico, Romance/Relationship, Sparks, Nicholas

Kat Meads. When the Dust Finally Settles. Spokane, WA: Ravenna Press, 2011.

Clarence Carter died unexpectedly, giggling at the irony of it all, flipped over and pinned under his Oliver tractor on account of a wayward tree stump. Bewildered but rather amused by suddenly finding himself a ghost, he wanders back through the week leading up to his death in May of 1968. With a wry but empathetic voice, he examines the lives and emotions of the inhabitants of his home, (fictional) Mawatuck County in northeastern North Carolina. He comments on their age-old feuds, new loves, and festering anger at the harshness of life, surprised at how dying can alter one’s perspective so drastically. He is particularly interested in three impending graduates of the newly integrated Mawatuck County High School; his son, Lucian Carter, his orphaned niece, Amelia Nell Stallings, and their witty friend, Harrison Doxey. Lucian should be popular: he’s white, tall, and muscular. But he refuses to play football, and he’s always sticking up for his feisty, skinny, odd cousin Amelia Nell. On top of it all, he’s friends with Harrison, whose greatest crime (as far as the rest of the school is concerned) is being a member of the “first fifteen” to integrate Mawatuck.

Clarence Carter drifts through time and space to follow the trio as they grow up in the week leading to both their graduation and his death. Amelia Nell’s grandmother Mabel pushes her to commit to running the family farm, attempting to keep it out of the hands of her rich, no-good neighbors the Halstons. Harrison dreams of sashaying onto the dance floor at the local whites-only dance club, The Lido, and impressing the hard-to-please, gorgeous Jocelyn McPherson with his nonchalant daring. Lucian just wants Clarence to stop fighting The Man (in particular the severe, debt-collecting agents who come calling in a black sedan) and pay his federal taxes. In the end, the three children, for better or worse, will walk away from high school as adults.

Kat Meads has written a lovely tale about the strength it takes to make change and break rules that shouldn’t be rules. Embedded in her story are musings on a community’s shifting identity, its connection to the land, and the meaning of loyalty and love. Based on her home county of Currituck, Mawatuck County is filled with an abundance of diverse voices; some are familiar and expected, while others are new and beautifully different. As Clarence himself warns the reader at the beginning, “surprises coming your way, my friend, that much I guarantee.”

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Currituck, Historical, Meads, Kat, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Carolyn Guy. Autumn Bends the Rebel Tree. Vilas, NC: Canterbury House Publishing, 2011.

Clarinda Darningbush enters the world at the turn of the 19th century, the youngest in a large family rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Absent parents and dangerous surroundings means she grows up quickly, learning from her older siblings how to thrive in the unforgiving mountain environment. One day, she stops with her brother to speak with a handsome, blue-eyed stranger, and her whole world does a “dipsy-doodle.” Rufus McCloud is just as smitten as Clarinda, and soon they are happily married. Seventeen children and Rufus’ banjo music fill their joyful home on Levi’s Mountain to the brim, but tragedy comes to call. Left without her dearest love, Clarinda must weather life as a widow and single mother, struggling through the Great Depression and World War II with the help of her devoted children. Hooking rag rugs for trade, fighting off panthers and bears, and even building a new house when a devastating fire destroys their old home, Clarinda is the epitome of strength and courage. Throughout this bittersweet life of toil, she sometimes sees and hears her winsome husband, although she tells no one. Clarinda is sure that one bright day they will be reunited, and as spry as they were in youth, dance off together on the air.

A Boone, North Carolina native, Carolyn Guy has put forth what many readers are calling one of the most accurate depictions of North Carolina mountain life during the 1930s and 1940s that they’ve ever read. Bursting with Appalachian dialect, music, and customs, readers will find Clarinda’s resourcefulness and faith an inspiration as much as they will enjoy the humorous scrapes and stories of her large, warm family.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Guy, Carolyn, Historical, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Watauga

Bruce E. Johnson. An Unexpected Guest. Asheville, NC: Knock on Wood Publications, 2011.

The Pink Lady of the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, has mystified guests of the grand hotel for nearly a century. Although visitors over the years have suspected paranormal activity, no one can explain the Pink Lady’s presence. Who is she, who was she, and how did she meet her unfortunate end?

In this novel, the origin of the Pink Lady is revealed. August 27, 1918 is a special evening for the Grove Park Inn. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs have come to the resort, and their attendance is providing the inn much publicity and fanfare. During an evening movie, however, the body of a young, beautiful woman in a silk pink dress is discovered. Did she fall? Did she jump? Was she pushed? As Fred Seely, president of the Grove Park Inn, races to cover up the crime scene, he panics over what this incident could do to his struggling business and unpleasant family ties (his father-in-law is the inn’s namesake). Was Seely set up by his disgruntled brother-in-law? Seely’s skill in meticulous planning, much like his designs of the hotel, will become very useful as he makes evidence of the Pink Lady’s death disappear. Concealing her spirit, however, will prove much more difficult.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.


Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Historical, Johnson, Bruce E., Mountains, Mystery

Sarah Addison Allen. The Peach Keeper. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 2011.

The restoration of the old Jackson place should not have been anything out of the ordinary, but Walls of Water, North Carolina, is not a typical mountain town. Magic lingers in the air, the result of a dark visitor to the logging community in the 1930s.

Paxton Osgood has spent the past few months transforming the dilapidated, supposedly-haunted house into a new bed and breakfast, the gorgeous Blue Ridge Madam. To highlight the grand opening, Paxton has decided to hold a gala celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Women’s Society Club at the Madam. She has invited Willa Jackson to attend as a representative of her grandmother, a founding member of the club and former resident of the mansion. Although Willa and Paxton are the same age, they have never been friends. However, this event becomes an opportunity for them to get to know each other. The two realize that their grandmothers had been best friends, but their relationship was strained when the mysterious visitor came to Walls of Water. As the young women uncover what happened to their grandmothers, Willa and Paxton begin to understand the meaning of friendship and the value of taking chances.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Allen, Sarah Addison, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

David Saperstein and George Samerjan. A Christmas Passage. New York: Kensington Books, 2008.

When a storm strands passengers in the Atlanta airport on December 24th, several travelers accept a stranger’s offer of a ride to Asheville. As the five adults and two children pile into Lisa Barone’s vintage VW microbus, she promises them that they will be in Asheville by dinnertime.  The first few hours of the trip are uncomfortable as the riders adjust to their close proximity to each other, but the drive is smooth, with little trouble from snow or icy roads.  That changes shortly after the van crosses into North Carolina.  The travelers encounter whiteout conditions and an avalanche that leaves them stranded.  Taking shelter in an abandoned cabin, they have a Christmas Eve that none of them could have anticipated.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Saperstein, David and George Samerjan

Steven Symes. Shadow House. Morrisville, NC: lulu.com, 2010.

Scott Bennett is suffering.  As a hardworking New York lawyer, he put his career ahead of his family.  And then his family was gone–killed in a car crash.  Scott is consumed with guilt and plagued by nightmares.  With little planning, he moves from New York to the North Carolina mountains.

Not liking the newer homes around Asheville, he buys a rundown Victorian out in the country, even though the real estate agent warns him that the locals think the house is haunted.  Initially Scott is more annoyed by the unfriendly locals than he is by the strange noises and unexplained occurrences in the house.  But over time Scott’s own demons as well as those in the house, push him to the edge.   After the spirits turn violent, Scott seeks help from psychics, ghostbusters, and a college friend who is a healer in New Mexico.  Together they appease the spirits–but also unearth a secret the locals wanted to keep buried.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Buncombe, Horror, Mountains, Symes, Steven

Ellen Block. The Language of Sand. New York: Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks, 2010.

After losing her husband and young son in a devastating house fire, Abigail Harker’s life changes forever.  Everything precious to her has been taken away, and she finds that without her family she cannot resume her life in Boston as a lexicographer.  Abigail’s husband spoke fondly of a small island in North Carolina – Chapel Isle – that he visited when he was a boy, and she decides to move there for a year to feel closer to his spirit.

After making the long drive from Massachusetts to North Carolina, Abigail’s first tour of Chapel Isle is daunting.  The ferry lands at a dock that is eerily unstable, and the property that she rents – a cottage and a lighthouse – is in abysmal condition.  Getting to know the locals is also difficult because most people, although curious about her, appear to be standoffish.  And there is the ghost that “looks after” (or haunts) the lighthouse and whose noises unsettle her daily.

Abigail must make a new life for herself on Chapel Isle while grieving the premature loss of her old life.  Although this is an unbelievably difficult task, over time she gains loyal friends and interesting memories on the island – and new strength.  Abigail, always inspired by words, uses her experiences on Chapel Isle to create a new vocabulary that redefines her life and allows her to survive.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Block, Ellen, Coast, Novels Set in Fictional Places