CANDY CORN MURDER
A Lucy Stone Mystery (Book 22)
by Leslie Meier
Kensington Publishing Corp. 8/25/2015
E-book and Hardcover: 304 pages
E-ARC provided by publisher. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Halloween is coming to Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and local reporter Lucy Stone is covering the town’s annual Giant Pumpkin Fest for the Pennysaver. There’s the pumpkin-boat regatta, the children’s Halloween party, the pumpkin weigh-in…even a contest where home-built catapults hurl pumpkins at an old Dodge! But not everything goes quite as planned…
Lucy’s getting very annoyed that her husband Bill and his friend Evan have been working seemingly nonstop on their potentially prize-winning pumpkin catapult. But when the day of the big contest arrives, Evan is nowhere to be found…until a catapulted pumpkin busts open the trunk of the Dodge. Amid the pumpkin gore is a very deceased Evan, bashed in the head and placed in the trunk by someone long before the contest started.
Bill is on the hook for the Halloween homicide—he was the last one to see Evan—so Lucy knows she’s got some serious sleuthing to do. The crime’s trail seems to always circle back to Country Cousins, the town’s once-quaint general store that’s now become a big Internet player. Though the store’s founder, Old Sam Miller, is long gone, his son Tom and grandson Trey now run the hugely successful company. But whispered rumors say things aren’t going well, and Lucy finds that this case may have something to do with an unsolved, decades-old Miller family mystery…
With each new lead pointing her in a different direction, Lucy sees that time is quickly running out. If she wants to spook the real killer, she’ll have to step into an old ghost story…http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/31590
Well, this story could be taking place right here, in the town where I live. It is supposed to take place in Maine, but the Maine of this book is the Maine of the television drama: an unlikely landscape of small town perfection and weird characters. It’s certainly not that Maine is an unlikely place for murder, sadly we get our fair share, but this is an unlikely, non-existent, Maine.
I did like the reality of everyday life: a smart-but absent-minded husband who spends more time growing a giant pumpkin and building a pumpkin catapult than he does helping out around the house, her oldest son has gone off to Haiti to study something for a graduate degree leaving the grandparents with their young son, she has one kid in college and another still in school. They aren’t rich and they are very busy. Another blogger has mentioned how the couple seem not to communicate at all, and how the police are treated as hostile and crooked as being a problem for her and I have to agree with her assessment (http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-candy-corn-murders-some-short.html).
And there’s one big, LL Bean type, family business in the town, which is exactly like where I live. And there’s a new festival being inaugurated by the chamber of commerce around Halloween and pumpkins to promote local businesses. We do our local festival in the summer and it is a huge pain.
Except that it is all too idyllic with a gritty underside. I kept waiting for Jessica Fletcher to pop out. One murder question never goes answered, which for me was the biggest question. And, the whole story was too long, the motive and such all comes in at the final third.
Here’s a thing that bugs me, one guy in the book is supposed to be stoned all the time and yet no one, not even his girlfriend noticed that he was, or that he smelled of it. And, he didn’t appear to have the munchies.
There’s also a memory of a person being killed. At the beginning I was unsure when it was or who the person being killed was. But, I found the inside look at the murdered person’s thoughts as they die very unpleasant and unnecessary.
I didn’t enjoy this one at all. I realize this is book 22 and as it is being published first in hardcover is apparently a good seller for the company. But, while Lucy’s life and character is well-portrayed and enjoyably sympathetic, I felt the plot was sloppy and the plot was sloppy with the past and present intermingled. I certainly wouldn’t spend the $11 price for it Kindle or $16 for the hardcover. If you want to read this one, I recommend the library.