#FlashbackFriday – Howloween Murder (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review / #Giveaway #KensingtonCozies @KensingtonBooks

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

Howloween Murder (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Wednesday
26th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (August 25, 2020)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496730577
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496730572
Paperback ‏(August 24, 2021) : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496730585
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496730589
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B082WRWK5X

As the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, counts down to a spooky celebration on October 31st, a horrifying murder leaves Melanie Travis pawing for clues in a hair-raising game of trick-or-treat . . .

With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they’ll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom’s famous marshmallow puffs. The school’s annual costume party revolves around the headmaster’s assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it’s a shock when Harriet’s elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand.

Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again—this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Howard Academy is getting ready for their annual Halloween costume party complete with the headmaster’s secretary’s marshmallow puffs. Harriet Bloom has been providing the treats for years and she even shares them with her neighbors. Everyone looks forward to these delightful puffs of marshmallows. But this year the treats appear to be the vehicle used to poison her elderly neighbor, Ralph Penders. So while everyone knows Harriet wouldn’t poison anyone the police have confiscated all the puffs made for the party.

Melanie is worried Harriet may be convicted of a crime she didn’t commit so she agrees to collect the marshmallow puffs from Harriet’s neighbors while trying to find out more about Mr. Penders and who may have wanted him dead. But not everyone is anxious to answer her questions. She may have even put herself on the killer’s radar sealing her own howloween fate.

I do love visiting Melanie, Sam, Davey, Kevin, Aunt Peg, and all their dogs. Faith is truly a special poodle, I love her empathic nature and the way she helps with Melanie’s students. I also love the relationship between Sam and Melanie. They truly are a perfect match and their love just shines in every interaction. Aunt Peg played a smaller role in this story but she does play a huge role for a special family. Almost all the characters Ms. Berenson creates are genuine and true to life. Even the dogs each have their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Of course, she has to create a few people as suspects with questionable traits but she gives them layers to work through to reach their motives. I will say my heart was touched by the elderly victim and his circumstances.

I really enjoyed the Halloween theme as a background to the mystery. While Kevin tries to decide on a Halloween costume and she continues to work with her students Melanie divides her time up to include questioning likely suspects. The author blends it all together with a balanced hand. She drops the clues and inserts twists like the pro she is. I found myself leaning toward a certain character but it sure was fun to follow Melanie along step by step as she honed in on the killer and proved me right.

You really can’t go wrong with any book in this series. All are well-plotted and written. The characters are easy to become invested in too. The author does write each book to be read on its own so you can jump in anywhere. Howloween Murder was a fun and entertaining read perfect for this time of year. It was a howling good time.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.


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