Vampires, Bones and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett
Series: A Liss MacCrimmon Mystery (# 7)
Release Date: July 20, 2013
Publisher: Kensington Books
Source: book provided by the publisher for review
Liss MacCrimmon, newlywed and proud owner of Moosetookalok, Maine’s, Scottish Emporium, is thrilled to be organizing the rural town’s Halloween fundraiser. And the abandoned Chadwick mansion will be the perfect setting for a creepy old haunted house. . .
A wee bit too perfect, perhaps. After all, the last owner was Blackie O’Hare, a notorious Boston hit man, so Liss knows the stories of buried victims and hidden loot may not be too far-fetched. And then there’s the recent appearance of mysterious lights. . .and the unexplained moans and creaks. . .and, right where she left that fake skeleton, a very real-looking body with puncture-marks on the neck. . .
Liss’s cousin Ned? Who woulda kilt him, especially since he was supposed to be in prison? Was it really a vampire, recruiting another undead soul? Or maybe a more earthly being. . .like smarmy real estate agent Jason Graye, who gleefully spreads those haunted house stories so he can buy the once-bonny mansion for next-to-nothing? How about that out-of-town horror writer, who actually moved into the old mortuary?
Or. . .was Ned iced by one of his prison mates? Solving this creepy Halloween mystery is turning out to be harder than snapping a clear picture of Nessie. But Liss had better watch her back this time, because the killer–undead or not–is much closer then she thinks!
Review: Liss MacCrimmon is back, newly married to Dan, in this 7th adventure in Maine. Hard at work on plans for the Halloween Festival in Moosetookalook, Liss decides the abandoned Chadwick Mansion would be perfect as a haunted house. As they make several trips out to get things set up, Liss notices that things are disappearing, and strange lights are seen in the woods, but being so busy with the festival plans, she doesn’t have time to figure things out. But on Halloween night, when she arrives at the mansion to get it ready for tours, she finds her cousin Ned dead in place of the skeleton she had rigged. But Ned was supposed to be in prison, and no one knew he’d been released.
Liss’s aunt Margaret, Ned’s mother, begs Liss to find out who murdered him. As Liss begins to investigate, secrets are revealed that affect her own close-knit family. Was Ned murdered because of something he did? Or were treasure hunters surprised by him, and killed him to keep the rumored treasure buried on the grounds so long ago?
This cozy mystery series has long been a favorite of mine, so I was very happy to read this book to review for Romancing the Book. The author, Kaitlyn Dunnett, has crafted a world which I’d love to see firsthand. I love Maine (LOVE IT!), and want to move there one day, which is why I started reading the series so long ago. As the author lives in the mountains of Maine herself, she can describe the fictional town perfectly. Moosetookalook has a rich Scottish heritage, with plenty of opportunities for mysteries right in town, therefore fodder for plenty of future books.
The characters are people you would find in any small town, and Ms. Dunnett brings them to life in her books. The story is told solely from Liss’s third person point of view. The only thing that would make it better is if her husband were a more active participant in sleuthing, in my opinion.
The mystery was intriguing, and I was kept guessing pretty much till the end. I love the aspect of the mysterious mansion with secret rooms and tunnels. Made me want to explore it!
I’m definitely looking forward to the next mystery. Readers not familiar with the series can read this without having read the earlier books, but I recommend starting from the beginning to get caught up on Liss’s family and friends. There’s a definite romance arc in the series, and you also find out why her cousin Ned was in prison. It’s a great series!