Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All Hallow E'ven

Sharon Wildwind

Today's blog is brought to you by the librarians at the Springfield City Library; Springfield, MA

I hate gucky, bloody, scary movies, so the proliferation of TV marathons like "Blood Feast/24" does not thrill me. I asked myself if there could possibly be any nice Halloween stories out there, things reminiscent of when we would dress up in bed sheets or our mom and dad's old clothes, and go out with paper bags to collect Tootsie Roll pops and home-made popcorn balls? Yes, I go all the way back to that kinder, gentler time.

Anyway the librarians in Springfield apparently had a smiliar idea, because they collected a whole bunch of "nice" or "nearly nice" mystery titles for Halloween. Some of them do have a sharp edge, but I don't think any of them drip blood. An abbreviated list is below. If you still want more, check out http://www.springfieldlibrary.org

Susan Wittig Albert Witches Bane
Texas herb shop owner and part-time private eye China Bayles sets out to catch a Halloween night killer when one of her friends turns up dead at witching hour.

Carol Lea Benjamin The Long Good Boy
Three transsexual prostitutes, working a warehouse district in lower Manhattan, enlist private detective Rachel Alexander to find the murderer of one of their coworkers, who was killed following the infamous Greenwich Village Halloween parade. As Rachel investigates, with the help of her pit bull, Dash, she finds the death tied to the murder of an undercover cop.

Rita Mae Brown The Hunt Ball
When a faculty member from the local prep school turns up dead at the annual Halloween dance, "Sister" Jane Arnold discovers that the case is complicated by a controversy over local historical artifacts in the school collection that were made by slaves.

W J Burley Wycliffe and the Scapegoat
Every year, at Halloween, high on the Cornish cliffs, a life-sized effigy of a man is strapped to a blazing wheel and run into the sea -- a re-enactment of a hideous old legend where the figure had been a living sacrifice. And now Jonathan Riddle, well-known and respected local builder and undertaker, has disappeared -- and it seems all too likely that his corpse has gone the way of the historic 'scapegoat'. As Chief Superintendent Wycliffe begins to investigate, more and more unpleasant facts emerge until he is left with an incredible, and seemingly impossible, solution.

Agatha Christie Hallowe'en Party
Mystery writer Ariadne Oliver joins a Hallowe'en party where a girl falls victim to a game of apple-bobbing gone mysteriously wrong. Now she's joined forces with Hercule Poirot to unmask the killer.

Denise Dietz Throw Darts at a Cheesecake
Ellie Bernstein joins forces with homicide detective Peter Miller to investigate the murder of Jeannie Dobson and the "accidents" that are befalling her fellow members of Weight Winners.

Carole Nelson Douglas Cat with an Emerald Eye
Rough-and-tumble tomcat Midnight Louie, and his redheaded human companion, Temple Barr, are up to their ears in trouble when a Halloween seance to resurrect the spirit of Harry Houdini results in supernatural murder, and it is up to them to find out who -- or what -- was responsible.

Rosemary Edghill The Bowl of Night
When a local resident is killed at an outdoor pagan festival in upstate New York, Bast -- a.k.a. Karen Hightower -- discovers that her suspects include modern-day witches, a ceremonial magician, a survivalist, a dominatrix, an ex-boyfriend, and a few would-be Klingons.

Jerrilyn Farmer Sympathy For The Devil
Madeline Bean, caterer to the stars, is in the middle of the biggest job of her career. She and her partner Wesley have pulled off Hollywood's most outrageous A-list Halloween party for notorious producer Bruno Huntley, complete with an eerie fortuneteller who is astonishingly accurate, and exotic food that's to die for. Before long, Bruno is thrashing and writhing out on the dance floor. Just one problem: he's not standing up, And soon, he's not even breathing.

Jane Haddam Skeleton Key
The death of a glamorous and fabulously wealthy debutante finds Gregor Demarkian investivating a quiet Connecticut town to find troubling passions lurking just under the surface.

Carolyn Haines Hallowed Bones
Sarah Booth Delaney is both a Southern lady and a skilled detective, but her latest case takes her into the murky world of New Orleans where motives for murder, and a list of suspects, are as numerous as the stories of spiritual malfeasance that permeate the air.

Carolyn Hart Southern Ghost
Bookstore owner Annie Darling must set aside her shame and do some serious sleuthing when her husband Max becomes the prime suspect in an unspecified crime involving a beautiful blonde.

Leslie Meier Trick or Treat Murder
While preparing for the annual Halloween festival in Tinker's Cove, Maine, Lucy Stone investigates a series of arson fires that are destroying local architectural treasures, crimes that claim the life of the owner of the town's oldest home and turn an arsonist into a killer.

Tamar Myers Nightmare in Shining Armor
After a fire ruins her costume party, Den of Antiquity proprietress Abigail Timberlake is shocked to discover the body of her ex-husband's new wife, Tweetie Timberlake, stuffed into a suit of armor, and she must race against time to catch a killer before she becomes the next victim.

Katherine Hall Page The Body in the Moonlight
Minister's wife, professional caterer, and amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild does not know if she can stand the heat in the kitchen when a woman drops dead, ostensibly from Faith's yummy but poisoned dessert.

Corinne Holt Sawyer Murder OlÉ!
Angela Benbow and Caledonia Wingate, two savvy senior-citizen sleuths, find themselves embroiled in a south-of-the-border mystery when the residents of their California retirement home take a group trip for Halloween to Tijuana, Mexico, and two people fail to return.

Kathleen Taylor Mourning Shift
Sassy waitress and amateur sleuth takes on greedy relatives, old secrets, and a killer when a mysterious old man, the long-estranged husband of the cook at the Delphi Cafe, turns up dead in the diner's restroom on Halloween.

Kathy Hogan Trochek Strange Brew
When a local business is forced to close in order to accommodate a microbrewery and the head of the brewery is found murdered, Callahan uncovers some disturbing secrets that are better left hidden.
Writing quote for the week:

The narrator is a 60-year-old parrot. Having been raised by Carmelite nuns, she is incorruptible (Down these mean streets a bird must waddle who is not herself mean). As the Carmelites are a silent order, Polly Phonic can't talk but her calligraphy is to die for. ~Karen Affinbeck, mystery writer

This was the silliest quote I could find and I'm all for restoring the silly part of Halloween.


Julia Buckley said...

Halloween should be silly, I agree! And thanks for all the great reading suggestions.

paul lamb said...

Not included on the list is It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! which is a sort of mystery.

A Paperback Writer said...

Ah, my favorite movie at this time of year is Arsenic and Old Lace.
However, this week, I've been watching old Miss Marple movies with Margaret Rutherford in the lead role.

Thanks for your book list, though. I'm going to be finding a few of these. I'm not much into real gore or the kind of horror that won't let you sleep nights.