Title: Death of a Pumpkin Carver
Author: Lee Hollis
Back cover: For Hayley Powell, food and cocktails columnist for the Island Times, Halloween is all about costume parties and holiday treats—until a killer crashes the party…
This Halloween, Hayley can’t imagine a worse trick than her ex-husband Danny returning to Bar Harbor. Her kids may be happy to see their dad, but Hayley’s determined not to be taken in by his charms, and suspects he’s in financial trouble—again.
Still, the haunted holiday is about to get a whole lot scarier after Danny’s moonshine-making uncle is found lying dead next to a tombstone in a cemetery—and Danny quickly becomes the prime suspect. To prove her ex is innocent, Hayley will have to dig deep into her own bag of tricks to unmask the real culprit . . . before anyone else—including her—ends up in the graveyard…
Impressions: The main characters recipe-posts were so revealing that I honestly expected one of the townspeople to kill HER. Had a gossipy Garrison-Keilor feel at times, and delicious sounding recipes if you’re into those. My favourite so far out of my stack of Halloween themed cosies. Excellent voice, likeable character, great cast of supporting characters, and while a bit “zany” in tone it didn’t grate.
Title: The Legend of Sleepy Harlow
Author: Kylie Logan
Back cover: It takes more than a lurid legend to scare off the League of Literary Ladies…
For Halloween, the Literary Ladies have chosen to read Washington Irving’s spooky classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with its infamous headless horseman. But South Bass Island has its own headless legend—of a Prohibition bootlegger named Charlie “Sleepy” Harlow. Decapitated by rival rumrunners, Harlow appears once a year in spectral form to search for his noggin.
This October, the Elkhart Ghost Getters (EGG) have returned to the island. The group claims that they have film footage of Harlow’s ghost, and are determined to get more. They’re staying at Bea Cartwright’s B and B, but it’s Kate Wilder who isn’t happy to see them after they trashed her winery last year. When the EGG leader turns up dead, Kate becomes the prime suspect, and the other League members need to scramble to crack the case.
Impressions: I’m not sure I could suspend disbelief enough to believe that a legendary gangster’s personal papers would lie undiscovered (and un-rotted) in a cave for the better part of a century, but I didn’t really care, because I loved the main character and the setting.
Title: Death by Pumpkin Spice
Author: Alex Erickson
Back cover: Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .
As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .
With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .
Impressions: I bought this one for the title, but was ultimately disappointed. The main character was blandly annoying and obsessed with romance in a way that felt ridiculous for an adult woman. I spent much of the book wondering how she could possibly be competent enough to run a bookstore cafe, since she couldn’t dress herself without five pages of dithering and self-criticism.