My new book, The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, will be launching on March 8th. Though it’s traditional to provide an excerpt of some singularly exciting moment in the story, I decided to break tradition and provide an excerpt about the museum itself.
This was my first real chance to examine the museum. The walls were white-paneled, their ornate moldings painted shiny black. Two doors in the right wall led to other rooms. Opposite hung that plastic barrier, and the gap in the wall that led to the tea room. The floor was a white and black checkerboard of linoleum tiles. A rocking chair stood in one corner. Glass-enclosed shelves filled with haunted objects lined the rear wall. It looked like an undertaker’s ice cream parlor.
The only thing that could have completed the grim effect would have been Christy’s chalk (or taped) outline on the floor. But chalk outlines were for the movies. Today’s police had cameras to record the scene.
GD Cat made a Slinky of himself, dropping from a high shelf lined with old-timey photos onto the floor. He approached me, his strut confident, his meow imperial. Interpreting this as a demand for food, I searched the cupboard beneath the register. Beside a dusty and unopened bottle of Kahlua was a bag of kibble and a metal bowl. I filled it and placed it near a bowl of water by the rocking chair.
He turned his back on me and ate, teeth crunching.
I picked up the water bowl to freshen it. And then I realized what was missing: a bathroom. If Adele sealed the wall between the tea room and the museum, I’d be on daily liquid restrictions.
I rummaged through the drawers and found a bundle of tickets. Beside them was a small key that fit the old-fashioned cash register. It was ten o’clock, and I was ready to go.
Walking to the plastic drapes that separated the museum from the soon-to-be tea room, I peered through. A dark stain spread across the bare concrete. So the police hadn’t eradicated the signs of the murder. The clean-up was left to us. Shivering, I retreated into the museum.
No customers beat down the door, so I wandered through the three rooms that constituted my temporary empire. One had shelves filled with antique dolls, their eyes staring sightlessly, their gowns faded. A sign above the door read: Creepy Doll Room. It certainly creeped me out.
The Fortune Telling Room fascinated me. Cases filled with Ouija boards, tarot cards, divining rods, and other tools of the trade ringed the room. I ran one finger over an odd wheel and pulley device, and wiped the dust off on my jeans. In the center of the room stood a lightweight Victorian séance table, circa 1889, France (said the card). Against one wall was a spirit cabinet from the 1870s. The placard beside it didn’t explain much. Were spirits supposed to live in the cabinet? I opened its doors. A bench had been built inside, against its right-hand wall. It didn’t look comfortable, even for a ghost.
On the wall beside the cabinet hung a framed Houdini poster: Do Spirits Return? Was the poster real or replica? I’d need to do a thorough inventory of the museum to understand exactly what Adele had and its true value. She’d need that information if she decided to sell the place for more than a dollar.
I returned to the main room and the cash register. The plastic sheeting rustled. GD Cat sat in front of the plastic curtains, where Christy’s body had lain, licking his paws, unconcerned.
“I guess that means we’re ghost free,” I said.
He paused, fixing his green-eyed gaze on me, and he returned to his ablutions.
I unpeeled the information card taped to the seat of the paint-flecked rocking chair. It read: A presence has been felt in this chair, donated by Gerald Winters. Visitors have reported seeing the chair rock by itself.
I raised my brows. It seemed silly, but I plowed on, getting acquainted with the objects d’spook under my purview. A colorfully-painted magic scroll from Ethiopia believed to entrap evil spirits: How many are trapped inside? And what will happen if they’re released? A tattered copy of an occult journal from the nineteenth century. A Victorian mourning ring said to attract the ghost of the woman who’s hair was woven into the band.
The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum
A Perfectly Proper Murder
When Maddie Kosloski’s career flatlines, she retreats to her wine country hometown for solace and cheap rent. Railroaded into managing the local paranormal museum, she’s certain the rumors of its haunting are greatly exaggerated. But then a fresh corpse in the museum embroils Maddie in murders past and present, making her wonder if a ghost could really be on the loose.
With her high school bully as one of the detectives in charge of the investigation, Maddie doubts justice will be served. When one of her best friends is arrested, she knows it won’t be. Maddie also grapples with ghost hunters, obsessed taxidermists, and the sexy motorcyclist next door as outside forces threaten. And as she juggles spectral shenanigans with the hunt for a killer, she discovers there truly is no place like home.
“A delightful new series.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A clever combination of characters.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Humor, hints of romance, and twists and turns galore elevate this cozy.”—Publishers Weekly
Available for pre-order on:
About the Author:
Kirsten Weiss worked overseas for nearly fourteen years, in the fringes of the former USSR and in South-east Asia. Her experiences abroad sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.
Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes steampunk suspense and paranormal mysteries, blending her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem. Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. Sign up for her newsletter to get free updates on her latest work at: http://kirstenweiss.com