Halloween Murder

A Lindy Haggerty Mystery #4
Kensington Books
September 2003 paperback
ISBN 0-7582-0125-7
September 2002 hard cover
ISBN 0-7582-01249

Former dancer Lindy Haggerty has pirouetted her way through a few cases of murder and mayhem. Now, she’s about to tackle the performance of a lifetime, as the director of an amateur production in a small-town Halloween carnival that’s turning into a real dance of death…

At first, the Mischief Night Marathon seems like a good idea to Lindy. It promises to be an old-fashioned Halloween celebration, complete with bonfire, ghost stories, a Haunted Hay Ride, plenty of woods and dilapidated buildings for atmosphere, and a theatrical revue, directed by Lindy herself. And it’s a chance to raise money for a teen center to be housed at the historic VanCleef Farm site where the fair will be held. But instead of being a festive good time, Mischief Night is living up to its name, turning into a nightmare of flaring egos and outright hostility among the planners and participants. And then the pranks begin…

Initially they seem harmless, if annoying—just a series of bizarre practical jokes marked by the same calling card: a chilling limerick, based on the Seven Deadly Sins in Edmund Spencer’s, The Fairie Queen. Someone seems to know a lot about Lindy’s friends and neighbors, from their envy and gluttony, to their idleness and avarice. But what begins as misguided fun soon turns deadly when the body of sexy dilettante, Derrick Justin, is found hanging from a rigged platform with a single word—lechery—pinned to his shirt.

With the night’s ghoulish festivities becoming all-too-frighteningly real, it’s up to Lindy to discover who has a vested interest in ruining Mischief Night forever. Is it Melanie Grant, the acerbic drama teacher? Town scion Howard Porter, or his spoiled, tantrum-throwing daughter, Fallon? Could it be high school senior, Bryan Morrison, President of the Teen Council, whose disdain for the “weirdos” in the drama club is well-documented? And what about Adam Crabtree, a reclusive hermit and last remaining descendant of the VanCleef family, the only man who could still stake a claim on the land? As the night builds towards its unpredictable crescendo, Lindy has good reason to find a killer with more tricks than treats in store…because an eighth sin has been created just for Lindy…a sin more deadly than all the others…

"Small-town committee work makes a realistic backdrop for HALLOWEEN MURDER. Although readers may find it hard to keep track of the large cast of characters at first, this is an enjoyable domestic mystery."
~Toby Bromberg, Romantic Times Book Reviews
"The fourth Lindy Haggerty amateur sleuth mystery, Halloween Murder, is a fun who-done-it that sub-genre readers will enjoy because the plot seems real due to the bickering of the ensemble cast that makes up the Mischief Night Marathon committee. The story line engages the audience from the very beginning when Lindy, feeling like a sucker, lectures the dirty dog snoozing in her car until the final curtain call. Series fans will relish this Halloween treat while newcomers will commence with a Shelley Freydont marathon."
~Harriet Klausner
"Lindy Haggerty, rehearsal director for the Jeremy Ash Dance Company, returns home from a long European business trip to find all is not well with the forthcoming Mischief Night Marathon in her perky fourth outing, Halloween Murder: A Lindy Haggerty Mystery, by Shelley Freydont. What start out as pranks based on the Seven Deadly Sins soon turn into murder, with the killer targeting Lindy with her own special eighth deadly sin. The skull-and-crossbones jack-o'-lantern dust-jacket art makes this a natural for any Halloween tie-in display."
~Publisher's Weekly
"I really enjoy this series. Lindy and her assorted dance company friends always keep the story interesting, especially Rebo. He is terrifically constructed. Plus Lindy is never certain what is going on with her marriage and this always lends to the story line as well.
The additional characters, those working on the fair as well as those against the fair, really assist the story line.
I highly recommend this book and series."
~Dawn Dowdle
"People who enjoy theater mysteries will love this one. Readers get an insider’s view of the production. The methods used by one of the teachers as she directs some of the high school students in their production of The Crucible are fascinating. The details of production, from costumes to lighting to timing, are shown in enough detail to interest the reader and support the story. The details never overwhelm the narrative. This mystery moves right along, the characters are likable and the protagonist is admirable, and the puzzle is pretty strong. All in all, a very enjoyable read. Recommended for mystery-readers who like cozies."
~Jill Long, Reviewing the Evidence