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Virginia's Ghost

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Antiques specialist Virginia Blythe of Gable & Co. Auctioneers is working late one night when she hears mournful wailing. Following the sound to its source, she gasps in astonishment: a breathtakingly beautiful flapper who looks like a refugee from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is lingering in the shadows of the company’s basement. Later the disconsolate young woman returns Antiques specialist Virginia Blythe of Gable & Co. Auctioneers is working late one night when she hears mournful wailing. Following the sound to its source, she gasps in astonishment: a breathtakingly beautiful flapper who looks like a refugee from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is lingering in the shadows of the company’s basement. Later the disconsolate young woman returns to offer Virginia her diary, written in 1928. It reveals she’s the ghost of wealthy Toronto socialite Constance Pendleton. What is Constance trying to tell her? Intrigued, Virginia curls up with the diary and begins dipping her toes into the elegant opulence of Constance’s Jazz Age world. But suddenly things go terribly awry at Gable & Co. Just as Virginia’s preparing for a blockbuster auction, some valuable porcelain mysteriously goes missing and her job is on the line. The worst, however, is yet to come. A shocking murder spins the eccentric world of the auction house into chaos. Struggling to make sense of it all, Virginia turns increasingly to the secrets of the diary. Virginia’s Ghost is a tale of ghastly crime, euphoric love, and devastating betrayal in which two women transcend time to affect each other’s lives in startling ways.


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Antiques specialist Virginia Blythe of Gable & Co. Auctioneers is working late one night when she hears mournful wailing. Following the sound to its source, she gasps in astonishment: a breathtakingly beautiful flapper who looks like a refugee from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is lingering in the shadows of the company’s basement. Later the disconsolate young woman returns Antiques specialist Virginia Blythe of Gable & Co. Auctioneers is working late one night when she hears mournful wailing. Following the sound to its source, she gasps in astonishment: a breathtakingly beautiful flapper who looks like a refugee from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is lingering in the shadows of the company’s basement. Later the disconsolate young woman returns to offer Virginia her diary, written in 1928. It reveals she’s the ghost of wealthy Toronto socialite Constance Pendleton. What is Constance trying to tell her? Intrigued, Virginia curls up with the diary and begins dipping her toes into the elegant opulence of Constance’s Jazz Age world. But suddenly things go terribly awry at Gable & Co. Just as Virginia’s preparing for a blockbuster auction, some valuable porcelain mysteriously goes missing and her job is on the line. The worst, however, is yet to come. A shocking murder spins the eccentric world of the auction house into chaos. Struggling to make sense of it all, Virginia turns increasingly to the secrets of the diary. Virginia’s Ghost is a tale of ghastly crime, euphoric love, and devastating betrayal in which two women transcend time to affect each other’s lives in startling ways.

56 review for Virginia's Ghost

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tony Parsons

    Virginia Blythe worked at Gable & Co. (art/antiques) auction house in Toronto on Queen St. East. She was pricing/sorting 200 Royal Doulton female figurines for the Christmas auction. The next morning Virginia told Mark DuBarry (appraised clocks/lighting, taxidermy specimens) she had heard a whimpering noise downstairs. A former employee Alexis Harrow (carpet/textiles department) had heard the same thing. Every time Virginia went to investigate strange things happened to her. The other Gable & Co. Virginia Blythe worked at Gable & Co. (art/antiques) auction house in Toronto on Queen St. East. She was pricing/sorting 200 Royal Doulton female figurines for the Christmas auction. The next morning Virginia told Mark DuBarry (appraised clocks/lighting, taxidermy specimens) she had heard a whimpering noise downstairs. A former employee Alexis Harrow (carpet/textiles department) had heard the same thing. Every time Virginia went to investigate strange things happened to her. The other Gable & Co. employees: Taylor Hurst (Virginia assistant), George Schlegel (accountant, auctioneer) & Chloe O’Rourke (Virginia BFF, toy specialist) all had their own opinions about the whimpering noise. Finally Virginia encountered a transparent young woman dressed like a flapper. Brian Gable III (President of Gable & Co) called a meeting & wanted to know what was going on. 3 other Gable & Co employees: Jared Schmuttermayer (supervisor of the floor staff), Dora Snelling (office manager) & Sally Lynch (art specialist, auctioneer) gave their opinion about the whimpering noise. Mr. Gable called Virginia to his office. They discussed the whimpering noise matter it was over he told her? Over the next several weeks Virginia co-workers had a different perspective of her. Virginia decided in the middle of November to make another trip down to the basement. This time the female ghost gave Virginia a 1/1/1928 diary of Constance Connie Virginia Rose Pendleton (127 Elm Ave., Toronto, CA). Virginia continues to read Constance diary (6/15/1928; 7/12/1928; 9/21/1928; 11/18/1928; 11/27/1928). Gable & Co. was getting ready for a big 4-evening blockbuster fall auction. Brian Gable III called another meeting. He informed the employees there were 5 valuable pieces missing. The Missing pieces report: a male/female Dresden-style Shepard figural group, a sad clown Pierrot figurine, a parrot figurine, a figurine of a lady in a powdered wig who’s playing a harp, & a Royal Doulton German Shepard figurine. Virginia was responsible for finding them, or else she was history. Virginia, Chloe & Sally were at a diner eating & Brian Gable III came in & was extremely drunk/obnoxious. He passed out & someone called 911 he was taken to the hospital. George was now in charge of Gable & Co. He told the employees there was poison in Brian’s system, & he was not getting much better. There would be a police investigation. George assured Virginia if he lived/died she would not lose her job. Brian did not make it. Errol Thrasher (Strabismus) had been Brian right hand man. Virginia is defiantly not off the hook she received a handwritten note? Chloe had gone down to the basement? Who will take over Gable & Co? Will Virginia find the missing valuable pieces? Who might Suzanne Winterdale be? Will the police figure out who poisoned Brian Gable III? Will Virginia & George Schlegel fall in love? My favorite strawberry crepes & link sausage. A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. Wow, a very well written bizarre mysterious romantic slow spleenful ghost story (book). It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a great set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great ghost movie, animated cartoon, or mini TV series. There is no doubt in my mind this is a very easy rating of 5 stars. Thank you for the free book (Smashwords) Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mojofiction

    Author Caroline Kaiser is a freelance editor, but before she that she worked for almost 14 years at an auction house. She uses her first-hand experience to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at what turns out to be a rather dysfunctional world. It’s a great idea, a great setting, ripe with possibilities for interesting characters, soap-opera drama, and foul play. She sets up the scene and creates the atmosphere in a realistic and inviting manner that gives the reader the "fly on the wall" fee Author Caroline Kaiser is a freelance editor, but before she that she worked for almost 14 years at an auction house. She uses her first-hand experience to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at what turns out to be a rather dysfunctional world. It’s a great idea, a great setting, ripe with possibilities for interesting characters, soap-opera drama, and foul play. She sets up the scene and creates the atmosphere in a realistic and inviting manner that gives the reader the "fly on the wall" feeling. Reading this book reminded me in some ways of Steve Martin’s "An Object of Beauty," which followed a young girl working her way up in the New York art-dealing scene of the late 1990’s and 2000’s. It gives an insider-type look at the world of art auctions and gallery shows. But where that book is more of a character study, tracking a character arc over a long period of time, "Virginia’s Ghost" instead offers up an immediate tale that is part ghost story, part mystery. At the auction house, very few employees seem to like each other, but they hide their true feelings under a veil of smiles and courtesy. Dialogue often reveals people who may have spent too much time together and not enough time having a life outside the unforgiving auction house. Virginia herself is a solitary person who seems to have trouble trusting anyone. Especially after pieces under her supervision go missing. She’s a rich character and a good centerpiece for the story. The author handles her well. She’s a sympathetic protagonist that comes with her own set of flaws. That said, a few of the other characters ran together for me. They became clearer as the story progressed, but I would have liked to have seen the dynamics of some of the relationships established a little stronger earlier on. This would have helped build up the drama surrounding the murder-mystery. I think the author could have taken additional time to develop them before she got into the ghost story without sacrificing pace. The ghost story seems to run parallel to the present-day mystery and does not intertwine as much as I would have liked to see. There is a point to it, a reason the ghost gave Virginia the diary, and it comes together right at the end, providing a nice character development for Virginia, but I thought that part was slightly anti-climactic. All that taken together, I really enjoyed this read. It’s brisk at just over 71,000 words, but doesn’t feel short at all. It’s written in the first person and the main character is well-drawn. The auction house is a world of its own that plays perfectly with the characters. And the authors enjoyment of history (or at least the history of “old things,” as her bio says) shines through.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Throughout this book, we have two narrators. As the title suggests, we have Virginia Blythe, a present day Toronto woman working in at Gable & Co., auction house and Constance Pendelton, a 1920s ghost residing in the same Queen Street building. Virginia, still struggling to recover from her parents untimely death, has been working long, caffeine fuelled hours when she hears noises from the basement. Like any good character in a mystery, she investigates, and has her first of many encounters with Throughout this book, we have two narrators. As the title suggests, we have Virginia Blythe, a present day Toronto woman working in at Gable & Co., auction house and Constance Pendelton, a 1920s ghost residing in the same Queen Street building. Virginia, still struggling to recover from her parents untimely death, has been working long, caffeine fuelled hours when she hears noises from the basement. Like any good character in a mystery, she investigates, and has her first of many encounters with the ghost of Constance Pendleton. Eventually, she discovers Constance's journal among the auction house antiques and is intrigued. In Constance's world, we are taken on her journey through a terrible relationship with a charming musician. For myself, these are easily the best part of the book, and I wish there had been more. Unfortunately, Virginia does not have the good sense to keep these paranormal encounters to herself. Instead, they become ammunition for her bully of a boss, Brian Gable, who increases his torment and threatens her job. When Gable mysteriously becomes ill and a dangerous mystery begins to unfold in her workplace, Virginia cannot help but be drawn to the second mystery surrounding Constance's journal entries as well. What I liked best about this book is that it actually takes place in my city. It was exciting to read about various neighbourhoods and be able to picture them so easily. On the other hand, the only disappointing part of this book was that, for me, the two main plot lines never quite aligned. I would have loved each story on its own (Virginia and her workplace drama as one book, Constance and her 1920s relationship drama as another) but having both of them in the same book wasn't quite as appealing to me. Overall, this is one of the most unique books that I've read in awhile. Virginia and Constance were both likeable characters, and the author's knowledge of the auction world made it all more interesting. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, enjoyable read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John

    Caroline Kaiser has taken on the challenge of interweaving a present-day mystery with events from many decades earlier. She acquits herself admirably. The contemporary protagonist is narrator Virginia Blythe, an antiques specialist at a prestigious Toronto auction house. Kaiser draws on her experience in that field to give depth and realism to both the sometimes-eerie setting and Virginia’s mostly-unconventional co-workers. The voice from the 1920s is that of Constance Pendleton, the eligible and Caroline Kaiser has taken on the challenge of interweaving a present-day mystery with events from many decades earlier. She acquits herself admirably. The contemporary protagonist is narrator Virginia Blythe, an antiques specialist at a prestigious Toronto auction house. Kaiser draws on her experience in that field to give depth and realism to both the sometimes-eerie setting and Virginia’s mostly-unconventional co-workers. The voice from the 1920s is that of Constance Pendleton, the eligible and socially-striving daughter of a moneyed Rosedale family. We access her story through her long-lost diary, which her ghost brings to Virginia’s rapt attention. Even though Constance is thinking of becoming a novelist, her prose comes off as rather too constructed and descriptive for a personal diary; a few entries in, however, the reader happily goes along for the sake of absorbing such a vivid picture of Constance, her times, and her emotional tribulations. The mystery of a death at the auction house, and the darkening events in Constance’s past life, unfold together. (Refreshingly, both narratives include old-fashioned romantic yearning but no sexual gymnastics.) Complications abound; suspense builds. Wraith-like Constance appears as a guiding hand at opportune moments. The eventual resolutions to both threads are satisfying though not simplistic. Kaiser’s writing is well-crafted and careful (as befits a professional editor), but is neither pretentious nor affected. She develops the totally credible plots with the skill of a much more experienced novelist. Her many characters are deftly sketched, mainly through their actions and interactions and revealing snippets of their back-stories. Virginia’s Ghost will readily engage your mind and probably your heart. It is not earth-shatteringly profound in either sphere, but it’s not meant to be. It’s a well-written tale and a rewarding read (ideally by a cozy evening fire) — filled with atmosphere and movement and interesting people. And mystery! John Ambury

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    A simple, enjoyable mystery romance The author had worked in an auction firm in real life and used her background as the scenes for this mystery. Virginia Blythe, an employee of Gable & Co., auctioneers of antiques and dated furniture, paintings and china, was a department head and not well liked by her boss, Brian Gable III. The company had a small kitchen in its large, dark basement, which was also a storage area for most of the larger antiques. Virginia’s parents had passed away the year befor A simple, enjoyable mystery romance The author had worked in an auction firm in real life and used her background as the scenes for this mystery. Virginia Blythe, an employee of Gable & Co., auctioneers of antiques and dated furniture, paintings and china, was a department head and not well liked by her boss, Brian Gable III. The company had a small kitchen in its large, dark basement, which was also a storage area for most of the larger antiques. Virginia’s parents had passed away the year before, which caused Virginia to be sad and extra sensitive. Virginia had to go to the basement kitchen to make her coffee, to which she was addicted. One day down there, she could hear sniffling, the next time a wailing and finally caught sight of a beautiful young woman ghost, sitting on an old settee. This frightened Virginia and she told Brian, who made fun of her and threatened to fire her. In fact, the several employees of the firm did not believe she saw an actual ghost. Now throw in a mixture of her boss, Brian, being poisoned, some valuable porcelain disappearing and the ghost handing Virginia her diary, identifying her as Constance Pendleton, dated 1928. Why is the ghost haunting the place? Why is Virginia the only one who can see her? Who killed Brian?. Why does Virginia receive a threatening note? Then the pages of the diary portray a second mysterious drama ensuing. This is a great book for a few hours of simple, enjoyable reading. I was given a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tori Walters

    A woman, Virginia Blythe works in an auction house, categorizing items coming in and getting them ready to put up for action. In the ensuing chaos of the workplace and co-workers, she is repeatedly visited by a ghost in the basement. This book is a very good read, an easy, fun murder mystery and draws you into the action and the lives of the characters. Virginia’s Ghost is listed under the heading Paranormal Mystery, but it is more of a murder mystery with a ghost in the background. Although the A woman, Virginia Blythe works in an auction house, categorizing items coming in and getting them ready to put up for action. In the ensuing chaos of the workplace and co-workers, she is repeatedly visited by a ghost in the basement. This book is a very good read, an easy, fun murder mystery and draws you into the action and the lives of the characters. Virginia’s Ghost is listed under the heading Paranormal Mystery, but it is more of a murder mystery with a ghost in the background. Although the ghost, Constance, is present throughout, I didn’t see where her story was pivotal enough to make this book a paranormal mystery until the end where Constance’s message was made more clear. Still, not enough to make for a paranormal story. Also, Ms. Kaisers’ descriptions are good as far as the dresses all of the girls are wearing but houses and items; paintings, furniture, are too precise. I found myself zoning out with the long detailed descriptions. Really these are the worst things I can say about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to more from this author whom I wish to thank profusely for allowing me an advance copy for free to read and review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gael Spivak

    I loved Virginia's Ghost. In fact, I could not put it down. I am so busy right now that I often don't have time to read, for weeks on end. But I was actually avoiding my volunteer work to read the book! And I went to bed early a couple of night, so I'd have more time to read it. Caroline perfectly intertwined the story of Constance's ghost with Virginia's story. And with it all set in the same city (just different time periods), the reader has a nice feeling of continuity with the setting. I didn I loved Virginia's Ghost. In fact, I could not put it down. I am so busy right now that I often don't have time to read, for weeks on end. But I was actually avoiding my volunteer work to read the book! And I went to bed early a couple of night, so I'd have more time to read it. Caroline perfectly intertwined the story of Constance's ghost with Virginia's story. And with it all set in the same city (just different time periods), the reader has a nice feeling of continuity with the setting. I didn't want Constance's story to end and would hate it when I got to the end of a chapter about her. But then I'd get to dive back into Virginia's story. Then I'd have the same feeling when a chapter on Virginia ended. And both stories were such good mysteries. So you can see why it was so hard to put the book down.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Holli

    Once started, I didn't want to leave the world of Virgina's Ghost. Constance, the 1920's ghost who was found on a settee in the basement of the auction house where Virgina worked in present day Toronto, enchanted me. Author Caroline Kaiser introduces us to clearly defined, multi- dimensional characters. Vicariously, I danced in the ballroom so vividly described in the mansion of an upscale Toronto neighbourhood. I loved the accouterments of the past era and marvelled as the smooth transition I ma Once started, I didn't want to leave the world of Virgina's Ghost. Constance, the 1920's ghost who was found on a settee in the basement of the auction house where Virgina worked in present day Toronto, enchanted me. Author Caroline Kaiser introduces us to clearly defined, multi- dimensional characters. Vicariously, I danced in the ballroom so vividly described in the mansion of an upscale Toronto neighbourhood. I loved the accouterments of the past era and marvelled as the smooth transition I made as a reader, to Virgina's challenge in the contemporary world where the pressures and tensions of work include a mysterious death.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathe

    Another addition, a worthy one, to my subset of novels written by people I know. Caroline Kaiser is a Toronto editor who previously worked at an auction house - a background she puts to excellent use in this book. The parallel structure works well, and the characters in the parts of the book set in present-day Toronto and those set in the 1920s are equally vivid. A good read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John

    This freshman mystery author gives new meaning to the words "supernatural thriller." The unlikely fusion of the customary ghost story and a tense office drama make for satisfying reading. Miss Kaiser has furnished us with a much-needed guilty pleasure. This freshman mystery author gives new meaning to the words "supernatural thriller." The unlikely fusion of the customary ghost story and a tense office drama make for satisfying reading. Miss Kaiser has furnished us with a much-needed guilty pleasure.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jan Mage

    Outstanding novel with an intriguing concept! Cannot wait for the next book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kammie

    This looks like a terrific fall read! What a great choice for an October read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This book kept me in suspense to the end. If you enjoy reading books with historical characters and periods, you've got to read this one. This book kept me in suspense to the end. If you enjoy reading books with historical characters and periods, you've got to read this one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julia Simpson-Urrutia

    Virginia Blythe finds herself in the “dark, damp basement” of the auction house she works at, cataloguing Royal Doulton figurines when she first hears whimpering somewhere in the dark behind the piled up mounds of furniture. I enjoyed the goosebumps rising on my skin upon the appearance of the beautiful ghost from the flapper era, Blythe’s reading of her diary, and the murder that shakes up the auction house. Not quite a ghost story, but creepy and compelling.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rica

    Riveting. I liked everything about this book: the plot; the pacing; the gutsy, smart, funny main character; the well-rounded supporting cast; the story-within-a-story structure; the Toronto setting; and the fascinating glimpses into working at an auction house. Author Caroline Kaiser has penned a virtual master class in fiction writing. Recommended without reservation.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Louise

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Pietrantonio

  18. 4 out of 5

    Una Verdandi

  19. 5 out of 5

    Braz Menezes

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tilly Wark

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Bernstein

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sherilyn Decter

  24. 5 out of 5

    maria albrecht

  25. 5 out of 5

    The Master

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Kaiser

  27. 4 out of 5

    lisa MacColl

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lynne Marie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  30. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  31. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Reader

  32. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  33. 4 out of 5

    Rachella Baker

  34. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Mcghee

  35. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Pooser

  36. 5 out of 5

    Mia Redgrave

  37. 5 out of 5

    Carla

  38. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie

  39. 5 out of 5

    Julia Conway

  40. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  41. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Kennedy

  42. 4 out of 5

    Richard Hicks

  43. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  44. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Fantom

  45. 4 out of 5

    Carissa Burks

  46. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

  47. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

  48. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Hickey

  49. 4 out of 5

    Vykki

  50. 5 out of 5

    Debby

  51. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra

  52. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie

  53. 5 out of 5

    Marsha Paul

  54. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  55. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

  56. 5 out of 5

    Katie Harder-schauer

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