Tuesday, April 9, 2013


DEBORAH CROMBIE: We all know Linda Barnes as the author of the terrific series featuring Carlotta Carlyle, feisty Boston P.I.

But today is the debut of Linda's new book, THE PERFECT GHOST (wonderful cover!) and it is a departure. Publisher's Weekly calls The Perfect Ghost  ". . . A captivating story of love, rivalry, and revenge." And in a starred review, Booklist says it "...delivers a delicious twist. . ."

Here's Linda (and a couple of friends) to tell you more:

LINDA BARNES:   Carlotta Carlyle has been my alter ego for more years than I care to count. Imagine her chagrin when I wrote a book using another lead, Em Moore, the troubled protagonist and narrator  of The Perfect Ghost.  
As a former and future playwright,  my favorite thing to do with two characters is to lock them in a room and let them fight it out.

Carlotta: So Barnes decided to write about you? After all we’ve been through, after twelve books?

Em: It would seem so.

Carlotta: I warned you off, but you kept bothering her, clinging to her --

Em:  I was talking to her, that’s all. The way you used to talk at the beginning of the Carlyle series.

Carlotta: We had cases to solve.

Em: I had a story to tell. A compelling story. But I think it may have been place as much as anything else that got the two of us involved.

Carlotta: Place?

Em:  She was restless. She needed a change, a new setting. You must have noticed that.

Carlotta: Hey, Heart of the World, I took her all the way to Colombia. I was the one who drove her down the Cape in the first place, in  Lie Down With the Devil.

Em: She didn’t want a day’s drive. She wanted a reason to stay for weeks, walk the dunes, hunt for shells. She fell in love with the small towns, with Chatham, Eastham, and Brewster. She wanted to sail to the tip of Provincetown.

Carlotta: You’re saying she used you? For a setting?

Em: We made a deal. She told my story exactly the way I wanted it told.

Carlotta: So you used her?

Em: It was beneficial for both of us.

Carlotta: And what about me?

Em: You had a happy ending, didn’t you? You and Mooney.

Carlotta: But I still have a story to tell. At least one.

Em: That’s between you and Linda. I only had this one story, this one chance to lead the kind of life I dreamed about leading. I  was  lost before I met Teddy Blake, and then with him, the world opened up. We worked together. He interviewed and I wrote. I was part of a team,  valued, practically famous. Have you read any of our books? Any of the TE Blakemores?

Carlotta: Celebrity biographies? No, definitely not my thing.

Em: I was the E in TE. The “more” in Blakemore, that’s my name, Moore. I had a gift for it. Teddy said I was like a chameleon; I could alter my voice to make it sound like someone else’s voice. I could make some famous opera singer or movie star or business guru sound exactly right, like the person they were, but in the best possible light. I did almost all the organization and all the writing. People think it’s easy, but it’s not. It’s not just writing down what they say on the tapes. It’s picking and choosing, selecting the ideal elements to tell one person’s particular story.

Carlotta: Okay. Maybe I’ll give one of your books a try.

Em: Read The Perfect Ghost. That’s the one that captures my own voice. After Teddy died, I had to make my own way. It was hard for me; it was terrifying. I’m not bold or tough like you. I like to stay in my room. I’m introverted, shy. I have panic attacks.  I didn’t think I could convince the publisher to let me continue the book much less travel to Cape Cod and interview Garrett Malcolm.

Carlotta: Malcolm? The movie star slash director?

Em: And screenwriter. Don’t forget that.

Carlotta: I thought he quit talking to the press after his wife died.

Em: It was amazing that he chose us when he finally decided to tell his story. Chose Teddy, really, but then when I met him, he was unbelievably kind. I was  frightened just to be there, at Cranberry Hill. I’d never imagined such a place existed outside of a movie.

Carlotta: A young woman goes to a mysterious mansion to interview a famous and wealthy recluse. Sounds like more of a Gothic than a mystery.

Em: Why do you have to label everything? Can’t it just be a book?

Carlotta: I’m used to mysteries.

Em: Don’t worry, then. This is a mystery, too. Just a different kind of mystery. Call it a modern Gothic with a twist.

DEBS: To learn more about Linda and The Perfect Ghost, go to www.lindabarnes.com, or LIKE Linda on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lindabarnesauthor.

Linda will be dropping in today, and she will be giving away a copy of The Perfect Ghost to a lucky commenter, so do stop in and say "hi."


  1. Linda, I love the way this sounds. What a terrific idea! I'd like to sail to Provincetown too, but I'll probably just take the ferry. Love the Cape... love, love, love, love, love it. Perfect. Sounds perfect. And I am going to read it as soon as I could get my hands on it.

  2. Sorry... Reine-to-speech-to-text, probs. Back to chopstick with chewing gum stuck on the tip.

  3. I love characters that come alive, do their own writing and blogging. Go Linda!

  4. Welcome, Linda! Loved the dialogue between the two characters! This book's going on my list immediately.

  5. Hi Linda, have been waiting for your new book! Tell us what it was like not writing Carlotta this time?

  6. So many books, so little time. This sounds like a great read. And the blog post was very clever.

    This one will be added to the TBR pile.

  7. I was lucky enough to get an early copy of THE PERFECT GHOST and I loved it. The voice, the voice! It's interesting, quirky, sneaky, and different. Definitely not Carlotta.

    I've heard Linda talk many times about her theater background and this book really gives her a chance to strut her stuff.

    Wishing you all the best with the launch, Linda!

  8. Great to hear such supportive talk so early in the am! Hi all. And Lucy, it was heaven and hell not to write Carlotta. The actress in me craves variety. (I feel I now know what it must be like to get caught up in a long-running Broadway show. What? I have to play her again tonight?) You love the character, you just need a break. Maybe I should have changed my name, like you did!

  9. Love the character banter! And I can't wait to read about Em. Thanks, Linda.

  10. This is so wonderful!And SUCH a surprise..

    Was it a tightrope, to keep all of us Carlotta fans happy--but to bring out such a new and almost edgy voice!

    When did you first hear her?

    (Sorry Carlotta, we'll chat about you, too...)

  11. Reine, I didn't see anything wrong with your speech-to-text:-)

    So thrilled to have Linda here today. She's one of the first writers I met in my baby-writer days, and I'm a long-time fan.

    Going to love The Perfect Ghost, too!

    Congrats on the book, Linda!

  12. Hi, Linda, can't wait till I read your book!

  13. Congratulations on the book launch, Linda! This one will go on my list.

  14. A modern gothic with a twist--this sounds like my kind of book! Thanks to Deb/Jungle Reds for bringing us yet another author to read!

    Linda, like Hank, I'm also curious about when you first heard Em's voice. Also, when did you know that you MUST write her story. We novelists can be pretty schizophrenic at times...which voice to listen to? :-)

  15. Your characters have convinced me that The Perfect Ghost is an intriguing book and one I need to read. Thanks!

  16. Yes! Something to look forward to! My little voices and I have all been fans of Carlotta since the beginning and look forward to getting to know Em better. Linda, can you believe it has been 20 years next week since the Nancy Drew conference in Iowa City? It was so wonderful getting the chance to meet you then! Where does time go?

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  18. “Don’t be surprised if Linda Barnes gets an award for The Perfect Ghost, . . .”

    Read the full book review at New York Journal of Books


  19. Ah, yes. Another "must read" to add to my list of goodies. Thanks for sharing with us, ladies (all three of you!)

  20. Very cool. I"ve always thought it was a great idea to bring characters into 'our' world

  21. Debs, thanks... my speech-to-text didn't put down a chunk of my comment about how I loved the unique banter of Linda's blog. I got so frustrated trying to fix it I gave up. Shame on me. xo

  22. Hey, it's great to hear from all of you. Prarillon, has it been 20 years??? That was a great conference, and I'll never forget getting the chance to talk with Mildred Wirt Benson, who penned all those classic Nancy Drews! Hank and Lisa, Em's voice got in my head while I was trying to write a completely different book. She invaded my dreams and let it be known that she was not going to leave me alone until I told her story. I'm looking forward to going out and talking at bookstores and libraries, especially since I get to share the stage, on occasion, with Hallie!

  23. This is already on my "I have to live long enough to read all the books on this list". I am looking forward to it. Dee

  24. Hi Linda,
    I have always wanted to write a ghost story, but you beat me to it. See you at the mobile book fair.

    (I miss your lunches!!)


  25. It's so nice to hear from Carlotta - it's been too long.
    Looking forwaard to reding Em's story!

  26. A pleasure to join the valiant writers of Jungle Red today. Thanks for helping to celebrate the launch of The Perfect Ghost!