Published September 27th 2016 by Kensington
Synopsis: Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .
As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .
With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .
This is the third book in the Bookstore Cafe Mystery series, but the first I read. I definitely needed to read the previous books as I felt confused about the ongoing storyline in regards to Krissy and Paul. I gather there was an attempt to date in earlier books that ended poorly, but it did not ruin the book for me. Krissy, who co-owns Death by Coffee with her best friend is invited to a Hallowe’en Costume Party by handsome, doctor Will. There is mention of a situation from an earlier book regarding their relationship as well that I was not privy to. She decides to go even though she is extremely insecure and worried about what everyone will think. Shortly after arriving, there is a murder. Because there is no other police available to get to the scene, Paul asks Krissy to help him out.
This was a fun little read. I loved the aspect of a locked room murder and that it takes place with a Hallowe’en atmosphere. The majority of the book took place over just one evening. The mystery had some interesting twists and turns. I thought I had it all figured out, but was sadly mistaken. Overall, most of the characters are likeable and interesting. The one think I did not like was Krissy’s insecurities. She is constantly worried about what others will think, her appearance, her lack of money when around affluent people etc. Yet, when it came down to action, she did not hesitate to jump in regardless what others thought. Rather mixed messages there, but I guess, there are a lot of people this way in real life. I also think Krissy needs to make up her mind about her dating/love life. She is dating Will, but I believe she would dump him in a minute if Paul asked her out again.
I am not sure about this series, I might try another one, but if I do not get a better sense of Krissy, even though the mystery was interesting, I might give up on it. The publisher generously provided me a copy of this book via Netgalley.