Article published on October 13, 2016.
If you’re not included to spend October quaking in fear after having read some horrific horror or ghastly ghost story, then what better way to read your way through the Halloween season than in the company of a cosy mystery.
The Haunted Season by G.M. Malliet
Death stalks the quaint streets of Nether Monkslip once again in this fifth mystery starring handsome former spy/current priest Max Tudor. Lord and Lady Baaden-Boomethistle and a selection of their less impressively titled relatives are in residence at Totleigh Hall for the first time in ages, and village scuttlebutt has it that good times are here again for all those looking to enjoy his lordship’s bounty. However, Max Tudor’s chance to dine off the fruits of the entailed land is spoiled by a sudden, suspicious death. Fortunately, if there’s one thing this particular priest enjoys more than prayer, it’s the opportunity to get stuck into a nice murder.
Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot’s good friend/tormentor Ariadne Oliver calls on the great detective for help when a guest at a Halloween party she was attending is murdered. The young girl, who appears to have been drowned in the apple-bobbing tub, had previously claimed to have witnessed a murder, although none of the other party guests seemed to believe her. Of course, the fact that someone felt the need to murder the girl does rather imply that she was telling the truth and, thus, Poirot determines to bring the murderer, or indeed murderers, to justice.
Vampires, Bones and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett
Liss MacCrimmon is certainly looking forward to organising Moosetookalook’s (an improbably cosily named town in Maine) annual Halloween festival, but perhaps she was a bit hasty when she decided that the creepy Chadwick mansion would make the perfect haunted house. The mansion is the last known location of gangster Blackie O’Hare’s ill-gotten fortune and, as a team of volunteers works around the clock to stage the mansion in time for Halloween, various peculiar goings-on suggest that someone is searching for the missing loot. When Liss discovers the body of her cousin Ned in the mansion, it’s clear that she needs to put down her decorating tools and pick up a magnifying glass so that she can solve the murder before it ruins Halloween for everyone.
Trick or Treachery by Donald Bain
What could be more perfect than spending Halloween in Cabot Cove? Well, spending Halloween helping Jessica Fletcher to solve the latest murder to occur in Cabot Cove of course. While Jessica would rather be spending her time picking out the perfect Halloween costume, the arrival of an outspoken spiritual medium, to say nothing of the rumours concerning a real-life witch said to be living in town, mean that she is unlikely to pass a quiet October. Indeed, when the rumoured witch is found dead in the Cabot Cove graveyard, Jessica puts her Halloween party plans on hold and sets about investigating her friends and neighbours once again.
Death of a Trickster by Kate Borden
Peggy Jean Turner, the mayor of Cobb’s Landing, is looking forward to presiding over the town’s Halloween festivities. However, at least one of the local residents is taking his/her love of pranks too far and it’s causing Peggy to butt heads with grumpy new police chief Henry Cartwright. When elderly Luigi Alsop vanishes, it seems that the Halloween-related mischief has spiralled out of control. And that’s before the body of the police chief’s son is discovered. If Peggy wants Cobb’s Landing to continue to be a popular tourist attraction, she needs to make sure the murderer is caught sooner rather than later.
Death of a Pumpkin Carver by Lee Hollis
Hayley Powell, food and cocktails columnist for the Island Times, is looking forward to a Halloween filled with fun and delicious edibles. She is certainly not looking forward to reconnecting with her ex-husband Danny, who is back in town and most likely looking for help escaping from some financial trouble or other. However, when Danny’s uncle is found murdered and Danny is marked out as the number one suspect by the police, Hayley decides to investigate. After all, it’s probably the only way she and the children are going to get any peace this Halloween.
A Catered Halloween by Isis Crawford
Bernadette and Libby Simmons are the proud owners of A Little Taste of Heaven and, looking to drum up some positive word of mouth for their business, they agree to cater the charity haunted house that is being staged at the old Peabody School. The school had been empty for years, pretty much since a former student died there under mysterious circumstances in fact. Unfortunately, when unpopular socialite Amethyst Applegate is found murdered in the haunted house, it seems unlikely that their endeavour is going to result in favourable publicity. Since everyone who has ever met Amethyst seems to have reason for wanting her dead, Bernadette and Libby decide to hang up their oven gloves and help the police investigate her murder.
Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin’s idyllic Cotswolds life is once again being thrown into disarray by the presence of a handsome neighbour. Fortunately, this neighbour has heard of Agatha’s formidable reputation as a sleuth and he seeks her help in investigating a supposedly haunted house. Crotchety elderly person Mrs Witherspoon has been plagued by whispers, footsteps and a peculiar mist hovering in her hallways, but the police investigation failed to turn up any cause (supernatural or mundane). Most people think that the spooky shenanigans are simply a ploy for attention, although Agatha thinks otherwise and, when Mrs Witherspoon is murdered, it seems that her suspicions are justified.