Happy Wednesday! I hope you are having a good week so far. Halloween* is fast approaching. I like seeing all the decorations people are putting up outside. My neighbor has a giant spider dangling in front of his house and this creepy character driving a bone wagon with a cemetery plot in front. Murder at the Courthouse by Meghan Carver is the debut of A Grace Pointe Cozy Mystery series and it publishes on October 28. It will be available through Kindle Unlimited. Stamped Out by Tonya Kappes is the debut of A Mail Carrier Cozy Mystery series (also available through Kindle Unlimited). It releases on October 29 along with A Very Mummy Holiday by Lynn Cahoon.
Death by Jack-O’-Lantern by Alexis Morgan* has Abby McCree busy preparing for the upcoming Halloween Festival in Snowberry Creek, Washington. Abby, of course, is on the planning committee for the event. She is whipping up a meringue when her tenant, Tripp Blackston invades her kitchen to announce he has nominated her to chair the committee for a fundraising event to help fund projects that the local veterans' organization has planned. Tripp, a veteran, has been helping Sergeant Kevin Montgomery who is living in the local woods. On a rainy day, Abby is at Ronald Minter’s farm to pick up pumpkins for the committee. She is searching for the argumentative farmer and finds him in a shed in the middle of the corn maze with a knife in his back. Unfortunately, the farm falls under county jurisdiction and Detective Ben Earle is in charge of the investigation. Kevin Montgomery rises to the top of the suspect list when police are told about Minter accosting Kevin in town and accusing the sergeant of trespassing on his farm to seal pumpkins. With Tripp in jail for being uncooperative, it is up to Abby to get the root of the matter. There is something rotten in this pumpkin patch and Abby is determined to expose it, so Tripp does not continue to wither in jail.
Death by Jack-O’-Lantern by Alexis Morgan is the second An Abby McCree Mystery. It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series. Abby McCree has been “volunteered” to help with the planning of the Halloween Festival. When Glenda’s driver bails because of the pouring rain, Abby takes her neighbor out to Ronald Minter’s farm to pick up the pumpkins for the festival. Abby finds the cranky farmer dead in a shed in the middle of the corn maze. When Tripp and his friend, Kevin Montgomery find themselves afoul of the law, Abby begins searching for the guilty party. I thought Death by Jack-O’-Lantern was easy to read with a charming town and a variety of quirky characters. Abby keeps getting herself “volunteered” to committees and projects (I think gullible is written on her forehead). When Abby is not helping others, she is whipping up baked goods that come in handy for bribes and to offer to police when they inevitably end up at her house. Zeke, Abby’s dog, is my favorite character. He is such a lovable and smart fellow. Gage Logan, the chief of police, is a good guy. He is a fair minded individual who cares about his daughter. I wish Gage was Abby’s love interest. The murder of Ronald Minter provided a couple of suspects along with misdirection and direct clues. I would have liked the mystery to be more challenging. It seemed like the author was pointing a giant neon arrow at the culprit. I thought the reveal was interesting and entertaining. There were some appealing aspects to the crime, and I appreciated that it was completely resolved. The pumpkin carving sculptures were a delightful addition to the story especially Gage Logan’s. I would have liked less repetition of case details (I got it the first time). Death by Jack-O’-Lantern is a cute Halloween themed cozy mystery with purloined pumpkins, copious cookies, a humorous hound and a vigorous volunteer enforcer.
Death by Jack-O'-Lantern* (Amazon UK) will get you in the spirit of the season. The first An Abby McCree Mystery is Death by Committee. My mother enjoyed both books in this series and is eager for the next one to come out. I hope you have a spellbinding day. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
*This post contains affiliate links.