A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Howloween Murder by Laurien Berenson- Feature and Review


As the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, counts down to a spooky celebration on October 31st, a horrifying murder leaves Melanie Travis pawing for clues in a hair-raising game of trick-or-treat . . .
With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they’ll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom’s famous marshmallow puffs. The private school’s annual costume party revolves around the headmaster’s assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it's a shock when Harriet’s elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand. In a snap, police start questioning whether Harriet modified her top-secret recipe to include a hefty dose of lethal poison . . .
Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, bizarre getups, and hidden identities, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again—this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!



Howloween Murder (A Melanie Travis Mystery Book 26)Howloween Murder by Laurien Berenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Howloween Murder by Laurien Berenson is a 2020 Kensington publication.

It’s almost Halloween and Howard Academy is gearing up for the annual costume party… and Harriet Bloom’s famous Halloween marshmallow puffs!!

However, Harriet’s holiday tradition may be over, when her neighbor dies of cyanide poisoning after eating a batch of her gooey treats.

Harriet and the school administrator ask Melanie to help clear Harriet’s name and hopefully spare the school any unwanted scandal. After agreeing to help, Melanie’s first task is to hunt down all the recipients of Harriet’s gooey treats, which also gives her a chance to ask a few questions.

In the process, Melanie begins to form a sad picture of the victim, as well a possible motive. But can she prove her suspicions and get Harriet off the hook?

While looking for a light Halloween themed novel, I ran across this book in the Overdrive library. However, when I realized this series was 26 installments deep, I nearly took a pass, but I decided to take a chance on it anyway- and I am so glad I did!

Melanie may be an amateur sleuth, but her approach is very much like a procedural. Lots of legwork, and interviews, pitching theories, slowly putting the puzzle together. There are also some big surprises and a thrilling conclusion!

I enjoyed getting to know Melanie a little bit, and naturally I loved her standard poodle, Faith!

It goes without saying, my gamble paid off. While I still extol the benefits of reading a series in order, if possible- sometimes reading out of order can introduce one to a series, without the daunting task of trying to read through all the previous installments first, and make the author one more loyal fan, in the process. One can always go back and catch up on previous installments later. You can now count me in a future repeat customer!

Happy Halloween!




Laurien Berenson is the bestselling author of the Melanie Travis canine mystery series. Her books revolve around the world of dog shows, a milieu she knows well as her family has been involved in the sport of dogs for three generations. There are currently twenty-five Melanie Travis mysteries, including the newest book, GAME OF DOG BONES.

Berenson is a four time winner of the Maxwell Award for Fiction from the Dog Writers Assoc. of America and a winner of the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She is also an Agatha and Macavity nominee. Her work has appeared in The New York Times as well as numerous magazines. She is a graduate of Vassar College, and she and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky, surrounded by horses and dogs.

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