Tricks and treats keep the Halloween spirit alive in coastal Maine. But this year the haunted house theme is getting carried a little too far . . .
HAUNTED HOUSE MURDER by LESLIE MEIER
Newcomers to Tinker’s Cove, Ty and Heather Moon have moved into a dilapidated house reputed to be a haven for ghosts. Now strange noises and flickering lights erupt from the house at all hours and neighborly relations are on edge. And when a local boy goes missing near the house, it’s up to Lucy Stone to unravel the mystery of the eccentric couple and their increasingly frightful behavior.
DEATH BY HAUNTED HOUSE by LEE HOLLIS
For the past two years, the house next door to Hayley Powell has sat abandoned after the owner died under mysterious circumstances. The Salinger family has recently taken possession of the property, but the realtor behind the deal has vanished—after a very public and angry argument with Damien Salinger. If Bar Harbor’s newest neighbors are murderers, Hayley will haunt them until they confess.
HALLOWED OUT by BARBARA ROSS
With its history of hauntings and ghost sightings, Busman’s Harbor is the perfect setting for Halloween festivities. But when a reenactment of a Prohibition-era gangster’s murder ends with a literal bang and a dead actor from New Jersey, Julia Snowden must identify a killer before she ends up sleeping with the fishes.
PRAISE FOR HAUNTED HOUSE MURDER
“Haunted houses, a holiday staple, are an especially good fit for the authors’ folksy Down East setting. All three tales offer a dash of detection, but their strong suit is hometown charm.”
“Enjoyable. . . . The well-drawn main characters, not the spooky goings-on, are the main attraction. Cozy fans are in for a Halloween treat.”
Meier, Hollis, and Ross's enjoyable third holiday-themed anthology (after 2018's Yule Log Murder) collects three long haunted house stories, each set in coastal Maine. In Meier's "Haunted House Murder," Tinker's Cove reporter Lucy Stone tries to befriend her standoffish new neighbors, whose house emits strange sounds and lights, without success. She comes to consider asking the police to intervene. In Hollis's "Death by Haunted House," Island Times newspaper office manager Hayley Powell becomes suspicious of the quirky Salinger family that has moved into the abandoned house next door when the realtor disappears after a public argument with one of the Salingers. Finally, in Ross's "Hallowed Out," Julia Snowden, of Busman's Harbor, investigates the murder of an actor reenacting the murder of Prohibition-era gangster at a local diner. The well-drawn main characters, not the spooky goings-on, are the main attraction. Cozy fans are in for a Halloween treat.
Three Hauntingly Good Cozy Mysteries
Haunted House Murder contains three entertaining Halloween themed cozy mysteries that are all set in Maine. They are well-written and engaging with developed characters. You can read one or all three. They can be read as standalone for those unfamiliar with the series. Death by Haunted House takes readers back to October 29, 2009 with Hayley Powell and her family. I do not know how Hayley put up with her husband, Danny. He is more of a child than her kids, but Danny was certainly entertaining. Lucy Stone is busy with work plus taking care of her house, hubby and daughter who is still at home. Then she agrees to watch Patrick. Lucy finds it challenging to keep up with a child under ten who goes to soccer and has homework. I could relate when she was trying to teach Patrick fractions (my father sat with me for hours trying to teach me). Julia gets roped into helping with a reenactment and finds herself in the middle of a real gunfire. When not looking for the killer, she is curious about the unusual problem at her mother’s house. She refuses to believe a ghost has suddenly appeared. I enjoyed all three cozy mysteries with the haunted house theme. They put me in the mood for Halloween which is such a fun time of year with the decorations and costumes. There are recipes included as well. Be prepared for a hauntingly good time with our three female sleuths in Haunted House Murder.