Wednesday, June 2, 2010

7 Bedrooms, 4 Baths, 2 Ghosts. Ugh.

by Alison Kerby

Here's the thing about ghosts: They're a real pain in the butt.

I found out the hard way. I won't tell you the whole story (I think you can guess where you can see that), but the short version is that I bought this beautiful old Victorian in my old home town, Harbor Haven, New Jersey, right on the shore (down the shore, we Jerseyans say). I'm going to turn it into a guesthouse, something I've always wanted to do, to give people a view of the area I've always loved, and to generate an income for me and my nine-year-old daughter Melissa.

And then, after I got hit on the head--again, the whole story is elsewhere--I could see ghosts.

Not ALL ghosts. I don't see them wherever I go. Just two. Their names are Paul Harrison and Maxie Malone. They died in my house, a little less than a year ago. Maxie used to own the place, wanting to renovate and "flip" it, back when the real estate market was hot down the shore.

It's not anymore, but that's no longer Maxie's problem.

The thing is, seeing ghosts is something you never really get used to, and it's something that has unexpected downsides. Like the "mischief" they cause when they want me to do something, which they do. They want me to find out who murdered them.

Not my line of work, thank you.

I mean, I understand. I THINK I understand. Paul, a private investigator whom Maxie hired when she started receiving (as it turned out, accurate) death threats, can't let the case that ended his life go unsolved. Maxie, well. Maxie. Maxie is something of a 28-year-old brat. And while I get it that she's dead and that's a drag, it's so not my fault that I have trouble understanding why she keeps acting like I'm responsible for finding out what happened to them.

I'm sorry--is this too much information?

Suffice it to say that I'm sympathetic, but not crazy. I don't want to get a killer (or killers) mad at me. I'm addicted to oxygen. And even though Paul and Maxie hit the toughest break of all, I really don't see how my becoming the next ghost haunting the place is going to help.

But somehow, I get the feeling I'm going to be doing things I wouldn't otherwise do, just to get these two specters off my back.

Ghosts. What a pain in the butt!


  1. Good luck getting rid of them...and not getting the killer made at you!

  2. Hi Alison,

    I have a feeling Paul and Maxie are going to hang around your house for awhile. Maybe you can put them to work.

  3. I'm with Dru. Put them to work.

  4. Hi Alison! I'm fascinated by your ghosts because I fear I might have one living in my house. I've never seen her though. Things just sort of move when they shouldn't. The only person who hears her is my ex-mother-in-law, who makes a point of stopping by for a chat with her deceased sister.

    I'm hoping that since I don't see or hear her, it means I don't really have a ghost in my house.

    Good luck with your ghosts. I'll be watching to see how you handle them -- so I'll know what to do with mine!

    ~ Sophie Winston
    Domestic Diva Mysteries

  5. Really looking forward to hearing the rest of your story.

  6. Hi Alison--I really want to hear more! I used to live in a 15th century cottage in England (I'm British) and we had a ghost - his name was Thomas Jeffrey (buried in the churchyard next door). I saw him just the one time but I've never forgotten it. To tell you the truth, he was rather cute.

  7. Hope you get rid of those ghosts, but we sure would love to find out who killed them! Personally, I've never seen a ghost. Then again, I've never lived in an historic home...Maybe I should check out your new digs and find out the rest of your story.

    Southern City Mysteries

  8. Well, I can't speak for all ghosts, but I can tell you Paul and Maxie have been a LOT of trouble. Put them to work? When I try to do work around the house, they sabotage me or bother me until I go off on some wacky investigation. Don't these dead people realize I'm trying to make a living?

    Thanks for the kind words. You must all (those who read the book) tell me what you think when you've read all the way through. And if you're in the neighborhood of Highland Park, NJ, feel free to drop in on the launch party this Friday at 7! Details at

  9. I used to live in Highland Park - AND "down the shore." Wonder if Paul and Maxie will leave after you find whoever's responsible for their ghost status?

  10. Maybe the three of you need a mediator? I wonder if Melinda Gordon (Ghost Whisperer) or Allison Dubois (Medium) would be available to help? :)

  11. Alison, I don't envy you ... ghosts *and* old plumbing? No one should have to deal with both. Good luck to you, sister.

    Love, Tally

  12. Hey Alison!

    COuld I possibly do a TV story about you? I need a good one for the July ratings..and I'd love to get you on tape! And the ghosts. too..

    And hey, are you related to George and MArian Kerby? I'm a big fan--and so is Hank!

    talk to you soon
    Charlie McNally

  13. Alison,

    Wow, you must have so many questions to ask those ghosts! I hope you can kick some butt and bring some peace to that house. From the cover, I'd say it looks pretty damned spooky around there!

  14. Sorry, Charlie (that sounds fishy, no?). I'm afraid you wouldn't be able to see Paul and Maxie. Very few people can. I couldn't before I got hit on the head with a bucket of drywall compound. I doubt you'd want to try that. But say hell to Hank for me!

  15. Of course, that's say HELLO to Hank for me!

    Damn RETURN key... or was it a.. Maxie, for crying out loud!

  16. Whoa. Blaming the typos on ghosts. That's pushing it, EJ.

    Hank and I do wish we could come to the launch party...have fun! (How can we buy signed books?)

  17. Getting rid of ghosts is a little like getting rid of houseguests. You can use two approaches 1) a firm, but polite request that they leave
    2) adopt a pair of hungry Rottweilers.
    Can't wait to hear more about your ghostly adventures.

  18. I'll be happy to get you some signed books, Hank. Make sure I get your address PRIVATELY and let me know what you'd like.

  19. OKay, terrific! I do want two, one to me, and one just your name. Email me via my website? And I'll give you the info.

    xx Hank, er Charlie

  20. Good luck finding out who killed them. Maybe they'll leave you alone if you do. The closest I've come to dealing with ghosts was hearing breathing in my kitchen and I was the only one home.

  21. That might have been asthmatic cockroaches, Betty, but you never know.

  22. I loved the book! I took it on vacation with me and it really helped pass the 8 hour car trip. It is such a shame ghosts can't be romantically involved with the living. Paul sounds dreamy... (oh, wait... it worked for Demi and Patrick in Ghost ;) )