Death of a Pumpkin Carver (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #8)3 Stars

My Review: I have only read a couple of books in this series, but had no trouble following the story. The “Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery” series is made up of shorter mysteries that have a lot of character development and details from the lives of the townspeople as well as a mystery. In this story, Hayley can’t imagine a worse trick than her ex-husband Danny returning to Bar Harbor just before Hallowe’en. Her kids may think it is a treat, seeing their dad, but Hayley’s determined not to be taken in by his charms, and she is always wary of his ulterior motives (usually financial troubles). When Danny’s favorite uncle, Otis, a moonshiner who often samples his own goods, turns up dead in the cemetery, Hayley tries to find the killer. She is worried that Danny’s proximity to their children might put them in danger.

Death of a Pumpkin Carver is fun, lighthearted, with a few serious moments but its a change from the books I’ve been reading lately. I wanted a cozy read and this book fits the bill nicely. This book was a delightful mix of humor, Halloween fun, family life and murder mystery. I liked the columns written by the main character telling anecdotes and stories from Hayley’s life, followed by fall theme recipes for all sorts of different foods and cocktails. I am a huge pumpkin fan, (I even grow my own pumpkins to cook and puree) so I am going to try several of the recipes. If you like seasonal cocktails, there are a few in this book.

While Haley and the other characters were a lot of fun and there were a lot of humorous situations, the mystery seemed to be a minor plot in the story. It took a third of the book before the crime took place, and afterwards there wasn’t much in the way of finding clues and figuring things out. The last part of the book was a lot quicker tying together all the storylines and unveiling the murderer. In the end, I was surprised at who the murderer was as well as the reason behind it. I enjoyed the humor at the end, Danny is really not very bright. I did not enjoy this one as well as some other cozies, but I will read another in the series to see how it goes.

Synopsis: For Hayley Powell, food and cocktails columnist for the Island Times, Halloween is all about costume parties and holiday treats—until a killer crashes the party…

This Halloween, Hayley can’t imagine a worse trick than her ex-husband Danny returning to Bar Harbor. Her kids may be happy to see their dad, but Hayley’s determined not to be taken in by his charms, and suspects he’s in financial trouble—again.

Still, the haunted holiday is about to get a whole lot scarier after Danny’s moonshine-making uncle is found lying dead next to a tombstone in a cemetery—and Danny quickly becomes the prime suspect. To prove her ex is innocent, Hayley will have to dig deep into her own bag of tricks to unmask the real culprit . . . before anyone else—including her—ends up in the graveyard…

Includes seven delectable recipes from Hayley’s kitchen!

Published August 30th 2016 by Kensington
Paperback, 320 pages
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Lee HollisAbout the Author: 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.