Hardcover, E-book, Audiobook
ISBN #: 9780758277077
$15.47 HC, $11.49 Kindle, $29.99 Audiobook
August 25, 2015
Halloween is coming to Tinker's Cove, Maine, and local reporter Lucy Stone is covering the town's annual Giant Pumpkin Fest for the Pennysaver. There's the pumpkin-boat regatta, the children's Halloween party, the pumpkin weigh-in...even a contest where home-built catapults hurl pumpkins at an old Dodge! But not everything goes quite as planned...
Lucy's getting very annoyed that her husband Bill and his friend Evan have been working seemingly nonstop on their potentially prize-winning pumpkin catapult. But when the day of the big contest arrives, Evan is nowhere to be found...until a catapulted pumpkin busts open the trunk of the Dodge. Amid the pumpkin gore is a very deceased Evan, bashed in the head and placed in the trunk by someone long before the contest started.
Bill is on the hook for the Halloween homicide - he was the last one to see Evan - so Lucy knows she's got some serious sleuthing to do. The crime's trail seems to always circle back to Country Cousins, the town's once-quaint general store that's now become a big Internet player. Though the store's founder, Old Sam Miller, is long gone, his son Tom and grandson Buck now run the hugely successful company. But whispered rumors say things aren't going well, and Lucy finds that this case may have something to do with an unsolved, decades-old Miller family mystery...
With each new lead pointing her in a different direction, Lucy sees that time is quickly running out. If she wants to spook the real killer, she'll have to step into an old ghost story...
In this, Leslie Meier's 22nd outing in her themed mysteries, it's nearly Halloween in Tinker's Cove, Maine, and Lucy Stone is busy. Her son Toby and his wife Molly have pretty much dumped their son on Lucy (I noticed they didn't offer to pay her); it's one thing to babysit your grandchildren for a week, it's quite another to take care of them for four months, on top of having to pay for expensive day care and adhere to a strict diet while said parents go on an extended vacation. After all, it was Toby's job, not Molly's, and she could have stayed home with their child for the four months he would be away. Military wives/husbands do it all the time.
Her husband Bill, along with his friend Evan, are working on growing a prize-winning pumpkin; and when someone's pumpkin is vandalized one night, Evan and Bill rig an alarm system that blares a horn anytime anyone comes near; her daughter Sara is planning on participating in Take Back the Night (a march to stop violence against women) and also participating in a dive to carve pumpkins underwater for the festival.
Plus, there's a new day care worker, Heidi, and she's a terror. I can't understand why anyone in the town pays attention to her, but the women on Lucy's committee, for some reason, are allowing her to push them around.
But when pumpkins and pumpkin displays are being vandalized, they know there's a real problem out there; and when Evan turns up dead, and Bill is the the most likely suspect, Lucy decides she needs to ferret out the killer, and fast.
Having read other Lucy Stone books, I really liked her and her adventures. But this book - something just nagged at me somewhat. In this book Lucy has turned into the kind of woman I really dislike: someone who doesn't stand her ground. Allowing a day care worker to tell you how to raise a child? If someone like Heidi tried to tell me what to feed my child, I'd tell her to stuff it. I'd ask her if she had children - which Heidi does not - and then ask her why she thinks she knows better than I do, since I'd raised four children (as Lucy has) and they are all doing just fine. Plus, if a newcomer came in and told me they knew how to throw a children's party better than we do (a DJ? For preschoolers? Really? They can dance instead of play games?) I'd let her know in no uncertain terms that just having some sort of degree didn't make her an expert. Not giving children Halloween candy? Again, really? Once a year is going to rot their teeth? I don't think so. Nothing like raising unhappy children. Who are these people, really, that they allow her to dictate to them how they should be raising their children?
I always enjoy when there's a mystery within a mystery, as there was here. And it could have been oh, so interesting. But instead of focusing on the mystery itself, I felt that this book was more about a political agenda than a murder. Yes, I know violence against women is a real thing - I've been a victim myself many years ago - but this is supposed to be a cozy mystery. That means people are reading for escapism, and not reading the news or watching it on television. If I want reality, I'll turn on CNN; if I read a fiction novel, I don't expect to get slapped in the face with it.
I hesitate to say any more about this book as I feel it will be giving too much away, but part of the explanation given toward the end just didn't make sense. There are always signs that anyone with half a brain would notice, and Lucy didn't suspect a thing...
However, anyone who has read any of the previous books in this series might truly enjoy this one as well.