The Ghost: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff

The sadness in his voice brings tears to my eyes. I procrastinate a minute wondering, Why me?

Bliss is a free-spirited young lady who has ridden into a quaint little Texas town.

It’s not where she wanted to be.

But, alas, Magnolia Bluff is where here motorcycle broke down.

She feels like a stranger in a strange town.

She meets some fascinating characters.

One of them is Merrick Doyle.

Bliss discovers him in The Great Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Book 3 in the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles.

He’s not like anyone else.

He’s depending on Bliss to help him.

No one else can.

No one else will.

Doyle is desperate.

He has a secret.

He’s not with us anymore.


Cindy Davis

I lean on my elbows, ready to lie back down. “Look, it’s been a long day and I have a splitting headache. Can you either tell me who you are straight-out, or wait until morning and I’ll be happy to play the guessing game with you?” As I lie down, a vivid picture jets into my head and I sit back up. “You’re Merrick Doyle. Ethan and Ciara’s father.”


“I’ve seen a bunch of movies, Mr. Doyle. I can guess why you’re here.”

Merrick pops into view near the windows. I use the word pops literally because the sounds are like microwave popcorn, but with a staccato shave-and-a-haircut beat.

The ghost is translucent. I think that’s the right word. Moonlight and details from the alley show through the light colored shirt. He’s got a roundish head and wide nose with deep-set eyes beneath a somewhat overhanging brow. In spite of the sharpness of his features, there’s something handsome about him. He tweaks his beard with his left hand, his head tilted as he waits for my reaction.

“Call me Merrick. Full name Merrick Arthur Doyle.”

“They told me you died last month.”

The eyes shut for three seconds, as though he’s keeping himself in check. When he speaks next, his words are calm but saturated with emotion. I was killed. Murdered.

I get up and move toward him. “How? By whom?”

I don’t know the answer to either question. Be nice, wouldn’t it? I just tell you who did it and you go out and get ’em.

In my almost-concussion-throbbing brain, things grow all-too-clear. “You expect me to figure out who did it?”

Correctimundo again! You’re a very bright girl…ah, woman.

“How do you think I—”

Merrick’s wide shoulders shrug. I see the motion not as body movement but as a ripple of the lighting through the window. Follow the clues.

“You’ve picked the wrong person to ask for help. I’ve never followed so much as a recipe.”

My ghost gives a deep-throated chuckle. You can do this. We’ll do it together. 

Together? “What does that mean exactly? Are you going to drive me around town and—”

We use your body and my brain.

“Sounds kinky.”

I love your sense of humor! We’ll use my knowledge of people.

That’s when it dawns on me: he can read my mind.

Exactimundo! He throws back his head and laughs. I wonder if the sound can be heard through the walls.

I doubt it. I’ve spent a month trying to reach someone—anyone. I’ve shouted till I turned hoarse—but you’re the only one who’s been able to hear me. Not even my own children, or any of my friends…

The sadness in his voice brings tears to my eyes. I procrastinate a minute wondering, Why me?

No idea, Sambethe Ursula Watkins. No idea why you.

When he says my name, I’m instantly annoyed. “Do not. I repeat, do not ever say that name. I am Bliss. Period.” Then, reality hits. “Wait. How do you know who I am?”

Did you forget already? I can read your mind.

“I never think about my name. Ever ever ever. So therefore you couldn’t have read my mind.”

Look, I don’t know how I know things about you, but I do. Isn’t that enough? I love the sound of your name, by the way. What a great reference to the Persian Sybil. You know what Sybils were, right?

“Yes. Priestesses, prophets, looked up to by many.”

So, what’s bad about that? It seems like a form of royalty to me.

“I am not a prophet. Nor do I want to be looked up to. As a matter of fact, I don’t even want to be noticed, okay? I just want to follow my free will and do what I want when I want.”

He grows serious. We’ll table that discussion for now. Let’s talk about me.

Please click HERE to find The Great Peanut Butter Conspiracy on Amazon.

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