Book Review: Haunted House Murder
Haunted House Murder is a collection of three stories by three different authors. Before reading, I was familiar with only Leslie Meier because I had read one of her Lucy Stone mysteries earlier this year. I knew I wasn't going to get an Agatha Christie type mystery or even something that would keep me up at night. Her books are considered cozy mysteries, which I happen to like from time to time. All three stories live up to the hype that they will involve Halloween, but sadly they don't offer much more than that.
Haunted House Murder by Leslie Meier: As I said, I liked the stand alone Lucy Stone book I read from Leslie Meier earlier this year. In fact, that's the reason I picked up this book at all. I was looking forward to reading a fun little mystery set in a cozy town around Halloween. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in the story I actually read. The familiar characters were there, the small cozy town was there, it was Halloween, but there was no real mystery. The only thing Lucy was trying to find out the entire time was who moved into the old spooky house in town and why were they acting weird. The ending didn't really tie up any loose ends except to solve the aforementioned mystery which wasn't really that compelling in the first place. My biggest pet peeve was the title of her story. It's called Haunted House Murder. Spoiler: There was no murder...
Death by Haunted House by Lee Hollis: The plot of this story had a little more weight than the previous one. But the writing was my biggest issue with this one. I'd never read anything by Lee Hollis and if this story is any indication, I won't be picking up anything by this author. The story was full of exclamation points. It literally felt like everyone was yelling at each other throughout the entire story. As soon as I started reading I disliked the characters and rolled my eyes when I found out the spooky next door neighbors named their kids Casper and Carrie. Can a story be overly descriptive? This one is. Much of the story could have been figured out by the reader, but instead the main character over tells the story. Did they solve the mystery? Yes. But at what cost to the reader??
Hallowed Out by Barbara Ross: This was by far my favorite out of the three stories. The plot was well put together, it was readable, and it really felt like a mystery that I needed to solve. I immediately fell in love with the main character Julia Snowden;she was written well as a like-able lead character. The title made sense, the story made sense, and the characters made sense. I couldn't even guess who committed the murder until the very end. I liked it so much, I think I'm going to check out her other books with mysteries solved by Julia Snowden.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend picking up this book. But if you decide to read it anyway, I'd skip right to the third story.