by Sunny Frazier
Covid-19 is scary enough and has us all wearing masks. Grab some candy, a pumpkin spice latte, and settle down with these Halloween reads. Many came out earlier, but I saved them for you as a treat!
They take Halloween seriously in Goosebush, Massachusetts. Seventy-five-year-old Lilly Jayne has her hands full hosting a haunted house on her lawn, planning the 400th anniversary of the town, and prepping the 10k fundraiser. She doesn’t have time for a nosy reporter who’s looking for notable families. When he’s found dead on the race route, could it be an accident or murder? Lilly and the Garden Squad are determined to root out the killer by Digging Up the Remains. This is Julia Henry’s third Garden Squad mystery.
Charlene Morris renovated her historic mansion just in time for the annual Halloween festivities in Salem, Massachusetts. When she finds the body of a local Wiccan, she and her charming ghost Jack look to the coven for clues. Mrs. Morris and the Witch is the second in the Salem B&B mysteries by Traci Wilton.
It’s 15 Minutes of Flame for Nantucket candle maker Stella Wright when a friend inherits an abandoned home. What a perfect setting for the annual Halloween fundraiser! Until she finds the skeleton of a Quaker woman bound in blood-stained clothes hidden in a wall. After calling the police, Stella probes the town’s history. Apparently, in the eighteenth century, there was a rivalry between two women after the same man. This is Christin Brecher’s third book in her Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries.
Harriet Bloom’s famous marshmallow puffs are a Halloween treat at Howard Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut. But when her neighbor dies with one in his hand, the police are wondering if cyanide is an added ingredient. Amateur sleuth Melanie Travis knows that would never happen. Gossip comes up with a potential suspect. With costumes disguising a killer, it’s a perfect time to do the perfect crime. Howloween Murder is the twenty-sixth Melanie Travis mystery from Laurien Berenson.
Over in Bar Harbor, Maine, there’s also a Death of a Wicked Witch. Newcomers in town are a minister and his wife, who runs a food truck. While placing an ad in the local paper, she gives Hayley Powell, the food editor, a taste of her wares. When the woman later dies in her food truck while catering a Halloween party, suspicion falls on a rival caterer. Or could it be one of the women costumed as witches? Lee Hollis gives us unlucky thirteen in her Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails mysteries. Includes delectable recipes.
The victim was dressed as Little Bo Peep, with thick strands of yarn wrapped around her neck. It wasn’t part of the Halloween parade festivities in Arborville, New Jersey. Pamela Paterson, founder of the Knit & Nibble Club, pulls together members to investigate. Knitting tips and recipes included in Knit of the Living Dead, the sixth Knit & Nibble mystery by Peggy Ehrhart.
More recipes appear in Kirsten Weiss’ latest, Gourd to Death. The owner of Pie Town, Val Harris, is set to judge the pie making contest at the annual pumpkin festival in the California coastal town of San Nicholas. When a contestant is found squashed under an enormous pumpkin, the chief of police puts Val’s cop boyfriend on the suspect list. To find the culprit, Val and beau dodge pumpkin cannons and follow clues in a maze. This is the fifth in the Pie Shop mysteries.
The local eccentric loves Emily Westhill’s Boston Cream donuts so much he ordered three dozen for his seventieth birthday. It’s a big order for the Deputy Donut Shop in Fallowbrook, Wisconsin, especially around Halloween. The old man is planning the party by the lake where his wife drowned twenty years ago. When Emily delivers the donuts, she finds the man’s corpse with a will next to the body. It’s a Boston Scream Murder in the fourth Deputy Donut mysteries by Ginger Bolton.
Ellen Byron takes us to Cajun country in her latest, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard. Maggie Crozat runs the Cajun Country B&B, but Air B&B is taking away her customers. For Halloween she and five plantation B&B’s in Pelican, Louisiana, set up unique menus, crafts, a pet costume parade, and a play set in the cemetery. When an actor costumed as the Rougarou (cross between werewolf and vampire) dies onstage, they find his mask was poisoned with strychnine. As more deaths follow, Maggie fears the town’s spooky past is no match for its present. This is six in the Cajun Country mysteries.
Meanwhile, in McGill, Georgia, Granny Reid believes creativity is all it takes to make Halloween costumes. She dresses her seven grandkids in pillowcases for ghosts and makes a trashcan into armor. Granny takes them to a corn maze where the kids are too scared to enter. Which is a good thing because Granny finds a skull half-buried in the center. Is it related to the unsolved case of Granny’s part-Cherokee mother? Old secrets are uncovered in Murder in the Corn Maze, the second in G.A. McKevette’s Granny Reid mysteries. ?
Meri, the Familiar Kitten is back in his seventh outing, Jack-O-Lantern Magic. Coventry’s Halloween festival is the biggest celebration of the year, but when a prop in the haunted house turns out to be a real dead body, witch Kinsley Skeebauer must solve the case “one spell at a time.” This spellbinding series is from the wand of Sara Bourgeois.
BEST OF THE REST
Elise Sax—Creepy Hollow Agatha Bright #5
Mildred Abbott—Vengeful Vellum Cozy Corgi #19
Diane Kelly—Bending the Paw Paw Enforcement #9
CeeCee James—The Last Resort Flamingo Realty #7
Jessica Ellicott—Murder Comes to Call Beryl and Edwina #4
Tamara Berry—Curses are for Cads Eleanor Wildem #3
J.C. Eaton—Broadcast 4 Murder Sophia Kimball #7
Ellie Alexander—Without a Brew Sloan Klause #4
Deanna Chase—A Witch For Mr. Christmas Witches of Christmas Grove #2
Eva Gates—A Death Long Overdue A Lighthouse Library #7
Lauren Elliott—A Page Marked for Murder Beyond the Page Mysteries #5
Tonya Kapps—Gear, Grills, and Guns Camper and Criminals #13
Carolyn Haines—A Garland of Bones Sarah Booth Delaney #22
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