Haunted House Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross Haunted House Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross
Series: Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #0.5, Maine Clambake Mystery #7.5, Lucy Stone #25.7
Published by Kensington on August 27, 2019
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Novella
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
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three-stars

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.

There’s nothing like home sweet home in this trio of Halloween tales . . .

I love seasonal novella collections! Haunted House Murder contains three cozy mystery novellas. Each is part of series, but they all worked well as stand-alones for me. Out of the three, the only one I really enjoyed was Hallowed Out by Barbara Ross.

Haunted House Murder, the first in the book, was lacking in a real plot. New people move into town, they’re weird, let’s all judge them. The amount of time Lucy spent complaining about having to take care of her grandson was annoying and I don’t understand why her husband seemed to be incapable of helping at all. The mystery itself wasn’t really much of a mystery, just people jumping to conclusions with little to no actual evidence.

In Death By Haunted House, new people move into town, they’re weird, let’s all judge them. And guess, what? They haven’t killed anyone either. Sorry, that was a spoiler but not a surprising one. At least this time, there actually was a crime committed, a dead body is found buried in the woods. I did like the twist of who the killer was and Hollis did a good job of giving us full characters. I felt like we got to know Hayley and her family and the secondary character well. I could have done without her husband, yes he moved the plot along, but I may have had to kill him if I was her.

Hallowed Out was my favorite of the lot. While all of these were set in Maine, this one took more advantage of the setting. It’s off-season, so the town is trying various ideas to bring in tourists, including a week-long Halloween celebration. Julia and her boyfriend, Chris, run a restaurant in the off-season and it gets added to the Haunted House tour. Of course, someone ends up dead during their stop. The mystery was well-done, even though it was short. We had a couple of suspects and an amateur detective who actually gets along with the cops. I liked the characters we met. Julia and Chris got along well and I liked Julia’s mom too, and the cat. I’m hoping most of the townsfolk show up in other books in the series. It was fun. I may have to pick up more in the Maine Clambake Mystery series.

About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of eight Maine Clambake Mysteries. Barbara’s novellas are included along with stories by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis in Eggnog Murder and Yule Log Murder. A third anthology, Haunted House Murder, was released in August 2019.

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busbody, first in a new mystery series, was released in June 2019. Barbara lives with her husband in Portland, Maine.

About Lee Hollis

Lee Hollis is the pen name for a brother and sister writing team. Rick Copp is a veteran film and television writer/producer and also the author of two other mystery novel series. He lives in Palm Springs, California. Holly Simason is an award-winning food and cocktails columnist for the Mount Desert Islander newspaper in Bar Harbor, Maine, where she resides.

About Leslie Meier

Leslie Meier lives in Harwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is the creator of ‘Lucy Stone’, a reporter and amateur sleuth in New England.

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