Saturday, October 25, 2014

Book Review: The Mystery of the Headless Horseman by Kathryn Kenny (Trixie Belden #26)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery, mostly good characters
Cons: Why Headless Horseman never explained; Di at times, but explained
The Bottom Line:
Vanishing butler
And a missing antique vase
Make strong late entry

Legend Come to Life

It’s an idea I’m surprised hadn’t surfaced in the Trixie Belden series before.  Since fictional Sleepyside-on-the-Hudson, New York, the setting for the series, is near the area used for The Legend of Sleepy Hallow, why not create The Mystery of the Headless Horseman.  Someone finally hit upon that idea, and the result is one of the stronger entries in the second half of the series.
For those who have missed this series, Trixie Belden is a detective series along the lines of the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, only the characters are better developed.  Trixie is a fourteen-year-old who plans to open a detective agency when she grows up, and she’s getting lots of practice as a kid since this is the twenty-sixth book in the series.  Along with her two older brothers and some friends, they’ve formed the club The Bob-Whites of the Glen which they use to put on fund raisers and generally help those around them.  This book finds them planning the use to estate of their member Diana Lynch, Di for short, to put on a bazaar to raise money for UNICEF, one of their favorite causes.

However, the day before the fundraiser, Di’s butler, Harrison, vanishes.  This is especially bad because with Mr. and Mrs. Lynch out of town, Di’s parents were only comfortable with the bazaar being on their property if Harrison was there to supervise.

When the friends go out and hunt for him, they find him trapped in the basement of a neighboring house.  Only his explanation for how he got there doesn’t make sense.  Looking into it further leads Trixie to the trail of a stolen Ming vase and crosses her path with the Headless Horseman.  What in the world is happening?

The Headless Horseman only appears in two scenes, but they are adequately spooky.  Die hard thrill seekers will be bored by them, but they got my heart pumping when I read them years ago and still find them suitably atmospheric.  He is adequately explained by the end of the book (one part almost right away), however the one thing that is never explained is why the villain is dressing up as the Headless Horseman.  Minor detail, right?  Actually, we can make an educated guess, and it’s an idea I had as a kid, but it would be nice if that were explained.

Other than that, the plot holds up very well as an adult.  There are some good clues and twists to the story that will keep the pages turning.  I did know one of the twists early on, even as a kid, but that never bothered me, and the ending explains everything.  Well, everything except why the Headless Horseman.

As this series progressed, the various ghost writers did a mixed job with the various character’s personalities.  Here, it is easy to say that Di is out of character, and I’m sure some things are exaggerated for her.  However, her personality shift is actually part of the plot and explained to my satisfaction.  I actually like the characters here and how they are portrayed.  Di does bother me at times, but she’s supposed to, and it is all resolved by the end.

At 200 pages, this is a fast read, even faster as an adult than it was as a kid.  However, the story never feels short, which I appreciate.

I have to mention one of my favorite sub-plots in the series.  In this book, Trixie’s older brother Mart decides to train the family’s Irish Setter Reddy to obey.  The results provide some fun moments throughout the course of the book.

Even with my one complaint, this is still a great read.  The author comes close to getting everything right for The Mystery of the Headless Horseman.  This is one series fans will enjoy reading and rereading.

And if you enjoy this book, you'll want to read the rest of the Trixie Belden Mysteries.

This is the first of a two part Halloween edition of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on my blog.  Come back tomorrow to see my review of the next in the Trixie Belden series and then Monday check out Shannon Messenger's blog for other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday links.

October 25th's Weekly TV Thoughts

Look at this!  I'm caught up on TV!!  I helps to have no life on a Friday for a change.  So here's what I watched this week, including thoughts that get me caught up from last week.

As always please link up your posts in the comments below and link back up here to help spread the word.  I look forward to reading about what you are watching.

The Amazing Race (10/17) – Augh!  I have really come to dislike the Dentists, mainly because the guy is so arrogant (and I don’t think it is the way he is edited either), so I was sorry that they could save their save since this was a non-elimination round.  Here’s hoping this has knocked them down a peg or two.  And how stupid is the mother of the mother/daughter team?  To prove a point, you are willing to lose the race?  And how did not pointing out the pit stop make you any better than how you are claiming your daughter behaved?  In fact, I felt like you proved her point.  (Not that I had strong feelings about it or anything.)

Girl Meets World (10/17) – I wasn’t sure what to think when I saw that bullying was going to be the subject of the episode.  In the end, I loved it.  Funny and very heartwarming with a minimum of lecturing.  And did I mention funny?  They pretty much got it perfect.

Once Upon a Time – Easily my favorite episode of the season so far, and that was because it was focused mostly on our characters.  Plus the scenes between Hook and Gold were great.  So much to explore there now, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.  You can read my full recap here.

Dancing with the Stars – I always hate it when a couple goes after a strong week.  Didn’t used to happen as much when they had the results the next night – I’m just saying.  Anyway, the weaker dancers are getting picked off one by one.  It is that time of the season.

Gotham – I read tonight that the November 11th episode is going to be worth watching, so I will give the show that long.  I did enjoy this one more because it showed us a bit more of Bruce Wayne.  But I think that is about all that is drawing me to the show at the moment.

Big Bang Theory – So many great lines and funny moments in this episode.  I loved Sheldon and Raj in the tunnel.  Bernadette and Howard fighting over money was a bit predictable, but still funny.  And I’m with Leonard about the money, although why they didn’t just open the joint savings account I will never know.

Castle – Not quite as good as last week, but still pretty funny.  I appreciated them breaking their formula a bit at the end.  Castle’s scenes in the school were wonderful if a tad predictable.  Still, well worth watching.  You can read my full recap here.

The Flash – The series is so much fun, but when they decide to get serious and go for the heart strings, I’m right there with them.  Amazing moments near the end and with the one doctor thinking about her fiancĂ©e.  This show is amazing, and I’m so glad it’s been picked up for the rest of the season so I can keep enjoying it.

Agents of SHIELD – A bit surprised that Simmons is back so soon, although I can’t wait to see how she really interacts with Fitz.  Skye being completely in the know is going to be interesting.  But what is her dad up to?  I think he sees Coulson has usurping him so he’s after revenge, but we’ll find out soon, I’m sure.

Melissa & Joey – I am a Sabrina the Teenage Witch fan from way back, so I loved this episode.  Having Aunt Zelda and Salem in it and hearing so many of the old phrases was just so much fun.  I was expecting them to go the entire “It was all a dream” route, but the ending they went with works as well.  Very nicely done.

Baby Daddy – That was hilarious.  I’m okay with there being nothing on the cliffhanger because it was great.  I knew what was really going on the entire time, but that didn’t make the reveal any less funny.  Would have been nice to let her win, but I still loved it.

Survivor – At least we are seeing some loved ones getting to play together this time.  I don’t think it worked out quite like how they wanted last time.  The mixture of the two tribes makes that super interesting.  And yet, with an easy vote, they went with breaking up a family set at tribal.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out.  Meanwhile, I hope Jeff makes the other tribe pay for the rice.  No wonder they were winning.  But how stupid are they?

Arrow – Several great lines tonight (and I erased the episode before I could record them.  Rats!)  It will be interesting to have Thea back, especially since she still doesn’t know about the Arrow.  I wonder what they plan to do with her this season.  Laurel is progressing down her path quickly, but I’m liking her story much better this season.

The Amazing Race (10/24) – As much as I generally don’t like the mother/daughter team, I was happy to see them working together this week.  And I rewatched the scene where they got into the fight, and they were right.  In fact, they were there first period and the guy cut in front of them.  I’m actually okay with the U-Turn as payback in this case.  But Bethany was wonderful in the roadblock, and I knew she’d be great holding the tea tray.  He’s been practicing for that detour for years.  I loved how they practiced before doing it for real.

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24th's Book Beginning and Friday 56

The week is finally ending, so that means it is time for this week's Book Beginning and Friday 56.  (And is it just me, or are the weeks getting much much longer these days?)

This week I've started my third and final Halloween book for the year, A Biscuit, a Casket by Liz Mugavero.

This is the second in her Pawsitively Organic Mystery series, and I'm enjoying it much more than the first.  The first was setting things in motion, but with that background laid, it's much easier to dive in and enjoy the characters and story this time around.

And it has a killer opening:

The chain saw appeared out of nowhere, its wide arc narrowly missing the top of Stan Connor's head.

See what I mean?

And this is a tantalizing potential clue from page 56:

Stan thought about that.  A family heirloom as the weapon.  Was that symbolic or coincidental?

I'm not quite half way through myself, so even I don't know the answer to that question yet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Stirring the Plot by Daryl Wood Gerber (Cookbook Nook Mysteries #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, good overall story
Cons: Pacing could have been a little tighter; Aunt Vera’s “powers”
The Bottom Line:
Who killed the head witch?
Dangerous fundraising group
With mystery, clues

When Fundraising Turns Deadly

Crystal Cove used to be a sleepy resort town, but then Jenna Hart moved home.  At least that’s what she is beginning to think in the third Cookbook Nook Mystery.  After all, Stirring the Plot represents the third murder in three months that Jenna has had to solve.

If you are new to the series, Jenna is running a cookbook store with her Aunt Vera in this town on the California coast.  Jenna grew up there, and now that she’s back, she’s reconnecting with friends, some of whom work in the shop with her.  She’s even got a new boyfriend.  Life would be perfect if it weren’t for that murder problem.

Every October, Crystal Cove is invaded by the Winsome Witches.  This group of local ladies use Halloween to put on several benefits raising money for literacy – no actual witchcraft required.  The group was founded by Pearl Thornton, and she is still the group’s official leader.  However, the morning after a night tour of the city that ends at her home, Pearl is found dead in her backyard.

Jenna’s aunt Vera was a member of the group and close friends of the victim.  With Vera feeling the effects of the murder, she begins to poke around, prompting Jenna to search for clues as well.  Will the two of them figure out who the killer is?  Or will this person conjure up a get out of jail free card?

Jenna does actually worry about being a curse on the town for a  little while after the murder takes place, and I found it to be interesting character development for her.  On the whole, I like all the main cast, and I enjoyed getting to see them again.  They are an interesting bunch, and the relationships forming are fun while leaving room to explore more in future books.

The plot started out well, introducing us to suspects early on and giving us some interesting clues, too.  But then the book seemed to bog down a bit.  The various activities happening in town give us time to talk to suspects, but I felt it also slowed things down as we had to learn about the events.  There was also some rehash of suspects, motives, and clues that felt repetitive to me.  However, Jenna pieced together some good clues to reach the climax, which I loved for multiple reasons, so the book had a strong finish.

In the first two books, it has been established that Aunt Vera feels she has a connection to the other world and offers readings of various kinds.  That has always bothered me, but here it felt like it was a much more pronounced part of the book.  I usually just ignore that part of things, but I couldn’t do that here.  Still, this was a minor annoyance to the book.

There is lots of talk of food in the book, which means we get several recipes at the end.  My mouth watered reading several of them, and the Pumpkin Maple Syrup Cheesecake is calling my name.  I might have to give it a try soon.

Complaints aside, I really did enjoy my latest visit to Crystal Cove.  Those looking for a Halloween themed book to read this time of year will be delighted to find Stirring the Plot.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TV Recap: Castle 7-4 - Child's Play

That was another fun episode, and the mystery was pretty good, too.  That’s my one sentence review of the episode, but let’s dive in deeper.

Our victim is a young ice cream truck driver.  He’s found shot in his track in an abandoned part of the city.  His parents have no idea who might have killed him.  He was studying graphic design, and the night before he died, he go really spooked in class and then left.  His teacher saw him getting in a car with a man she didn’t know.  And all his work on the class computers is gone.

Then comes the twist.  There was someone hiding in the ice cream truck when the victim was killed.  The only clue to his/her identity is a permission slip from a nearby second grade class.  When none of the students open up right away, there is talk about going under cover to gain the kids trust.  Naturally, the logical person volunteers – Castle.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Music Review: Unto Us by Aaron Shust

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Christ focused Christmas music that is highly original and fun
Cons: I will get strange looks listening to it year round.
The Bottom Line:
Orchestra and choir
Aaron’s Christmas offering
Original, fun

Aaron Shust Ushers in the Christmas Season with the Masterful Unto Us

Every so often, I think that I have too much Christmas music (which I do), and maybe I shouldn’t buy any more.  I’m glad I don’t listen to that part of my brain, however.  When artists I normally enjoy release new Christmas music, I automatically buy it.  This year, Aaron Shust is one of those artists, and I am thrilled to add Unto Us to my Christmas rotation.

Since Aaron has always leaned toward the praise and worship side of the spectrum, it’s not real surprise to me that he chose to go the route he did for this release.  It’s a full on orchestra/choral disc (at least most of the time).  While not my first choice of discs to buy, I was on board with this choice by the end of my first time through the disc.  It’s beautiful.

The disc opens with “Star of Wonder” which is an almost completely instrumental overture.  You’ll hear bits of familiar carols as it progresses, most noticeably “We Three Kings.”  The orchestra is already in fine form here as they play.  When the choir comes in, we are treated to “Angels from the Realms of Glory.”

That’s another thing I like here.  While most of the music is original, the familiar carols we get are not your typical carols.  Near the end of the disc, there’s a fun version of “Good Christian Men Rejoice,” and Aaron has added his own chorus to the song.  The disc closes with his pop/soft rock take on “Go Tell It on the Mountain” which lifts a song I normally don’t like and makes me enjoy it.  Probably the most familiar song here is “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” but even that gets tweaked with a new melody written by Aaron.

But many of the tracks are new songs.  One of my favorites is the title track, which presents us with a fun upbeat and catchy melody and words of proclamation who Jesus is that come mainly from Isaiah.  After a couple of listens, you will have this song stuck in your head, and you’ll enjoy every second of it.

Another fun track is “God Has Come to Earth.”  This song proclaiming who Jesus is and his coming to Earth is another upbeat track I find myself singing if “Unto Us” isn’t stuck in my head.

Now, I’ve jumped around talking about the songs, but there is a discernable order to the disc.  The first half are declaration of who Jesus is, bringing to mind the prophets and the angels as they proclaimed Jesus’s birth.  Then we switch to the adoration of the shepherds for the next three tracks, including the instrumental “Keep Silent.”  The simple lyrics of “Sanctuary” are extremely haunting as well.  And wait until you hear the boys’ choir and the young soloist on that one.  Finally, the last two tracks are the shepherds proclaiming what they’ve seen to anyone who they meet along the way.

I often judge a disc by how quickly it feels like Christmas to me.  This is a hard one to judge because it doesn’t have as many traditional carols (which I like), and with orchestra doesn’t grab me as much as some of the jazzier discs I have do.  However, it feels like a church choir program, which does make it feel like Christmas to me.  I could easily see myself sitting through a performance of this and loving every second of it.

While many Christmas discs can start to sound the same after a while, with the beautiful orchestra and the many original tracks, Unto Us will definitely stand out from the rest.  It might take you a few listens to fully feel like Christmas, but you’ll appreciate it right away.

CD Length: 40:53
1. Star of Wonder (Overture)
2. Gloria
3. Unto Us
4. Advent Carol
5. God Has Come to Earth
6. Sanctuary
7. Keep Silent (Instrumental)
8. Bethlehem
9. Rejoice
10. Go Tell It

Sunday, October 19, 2014

TV Recap: Once Upon a Time 4-4 - The Apprentice

All magic comes with a price.  It seems we should have learned that lesson by now.  However, the hard part is when that price comes from a liar.

Yep, Rumplestiltskin/Gold hasn’t changed a bit.  He may pretend for Belle’s sake, but he’s still out for himself.  And this episode proved it big time.

We begin in the past as a Dark One (pre-Rumple) attempts to get something.  It’s the same something that Gold found in the opening episode of the season – a magic cylinder.  That cylinder is guarded by an older looking man – the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.  But he is only one line of defense, and that second line is a magic spell on the cylinder itself that will keep any Dark One from ever getting it.  What and why aren’t explained – yet.

And that’s when our flashback catches up to Anna and Rumple.  She approaches Rumple in an attempt to learn about her parent’s trip to the Enchanted Forest.  However, he wants a deal.  And the deal he wants is for Anna to poison the Apprentice.

TV on DVD Review: Toy Story of TERROR!

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Entertaining adventure story with some old friends
Cons: Might scare the most sensitive children out there.
The Bottom Line:
Toys disappearing
From creepy roadside motel
Who is after them?

Don’t Stop at the Roadside Motel

Last year, I was all excited about the premier of Toy Story of TERROR!, but for some reason I didn’t especially care for it.  However, I decided to watch it again this year when it was on TV this year, and I wound up really enjoying it.  Now, I’m at a bit of a loss to figure out why I felt the other way.

This half hour special is from the people at Disney/Pixar and includes the original cast back to voice their characters.  While not all the characters are back, we get a good chunk of the old and new characters as they accompany Bonnie (voiced by Emily Hahn) on a road trip.  When her mom’s car gets a flat tire in the middle of a rainstorm, they pull into a nearby motel in the middle of nowhere until they can get it repaired in the morning.

The toys have been watching a scary movie in the trunk, and Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), who is an expert on them, continues to warn the toys of the dangerous things that can happen.  But instead, the gang wants to explore the room where they are spending the night.  Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) is the first to vanish followed quickly by Rex (Wallace Shawn), Pricklepants, Trixie (Kristen Schaal), Woody (Tom Hanks), and Buzz (Tim Allen).  With only Jessie (Joan Cusack) free, it is up to her to save her friends.  But where are they?  And can she face one of her biggest fears to save the day?

Maybe my expectations last year were too high, and I was expecting a full movie’s story in 22 minutes (got to factor in commercials).  Watching it this year, I was actually surprised at how quickly the story moved.  They’ve got time for lots of action and some nice character development in that time.  And we can’t leave out the humor since there are several good laughs along the way.

Actually, I mention character development, but really only Jessie gets any significant development.  Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the cast is their usual charming selves, but it is Jessie that has to overcome her fear of being left in a box.  Yes, so it is predictable, but still, it is nice to see this weakness brought up again and faced over the course of the story.

Despite have “Terror” in the name, I don’t think this will truly scare kids.  Yes, the toys are watching an old fashioned vampire film early on, but there are so many laughs with the character’s reactions to it, I’m not sure it would scare them.  The only really scary thing might be the weird thing grabbing the toys, but once that is explained, I’m not sure that would scare kids for long.  I don’t think it would have scared me as a kid, but I think you’ll only need to worry if you have super sensitive kids.

While the animation doesn’t include any of the beautiful money shots we normally get from a Pixar film, it is certainly up to telling this story.  The voice cast, new and old, does a great job bring their characters to life.

So if you somehow missed Toy Story of TERROR!, fix that today.  It’s a fun story that you will enjoy as long as you aren’t as stupid as I was last year.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 18th's Weekly TV Thoughts

As you can see, I'm still running a bit behind.  Got family in town again.  But here's what I did get watched this week, including the stuff I caught up on from last week.

Please feel free to link up your summary posts at the bottom, and please link back to this post so we can build the circle up.

The Amazing Race (10/10) – I’m sorry to see the firefighters go, although they only had a couple of weeks left in them anyway.  His ankle would not survive long, and hopefully this way he can get the treatment he needs.  Still, I always hate it when someone goes out because of bad directions.

Girl Meets World (10/10) – What a fun episode.  Not exactly original, but very funny.  The best part may have been the “Parent Play” at the beginning, but the entire thing turned out to be pretty funny.  Really enjoyed it.

Once Upon a Time – I’m still a little torn on this season, but by the end of the episode I was definitely hooked.  I think the more they weave the Frozen characters into the main characters of the show, the better I will like it.  You can read my full recap here.

Gotham – I feel like the show is going somewhere.  I just can’t figure out where and if I am interested or not.  I will say this, they could cut Jada Pinkett Smith’s character and it would be no great loss at all.  Heck, I couldn’t even figure out what her scenes added to anything in this episode.

Dancing with the Stars – The switch up didn’t seem to go quite as well this time as last time.  It seemed like everyone scored better, but this time there was more variety.  The bottom stars are definitely apparent as the weeks progress, and we will probably lose them over the next couple of weeks.

The Big Bang Theory – It was Leonard and Penny who were the serious ones in this episode.  What does that say about their relationship?  Good things, in my opinion.  I loved how easily distracted the guys were, and I think it proved that the ladies had nothing to do with their lack of productivity the last few years.  And Penny opening the blinds at the end?  Perfect!  There are some drunk people I would have liked to have done that, too.

Castle – The chemistry and mojo for the show is back, and I’m glad to see it.  A fun episode with some of Castle’s wild theories thrown in for good measure.  I’m not fully back on board and ready to see what comes next.  You can read my full recap here.

The Flash – In some ways, this felt like part two of the pilot with how they were still figuring out stuff about him and how he and some of the others were still figuring out what he should and shouldn’t be doing.  Yet the villain was all new (and new and new), so that much wasn’t.  Either way, it was still such a great episode.  Really, fun lines but so much heart behind it, even in the flashbacks.  And what is up with that doctor?  Why is he pretending to need the wheelchair?  What is his obsession with The Flash?  And why did he have to kill the guy?  Seriously, that is the biggest intrigue so far.

Agents of SHIELD – That was a very fun episode.  I laughed at May quite a bit, something that usually doesn’t happen.  And they advanced Fitz’s story, too.  I think this may have been their best episode of the season, at least so far.

Survivor – Seriously, have people never watched this show before?  YOU DO NOT THROW CHALLENGES.  YOU DO NOT TRY TO DICTATE TO EVERYONE ELSE WHAT TO DO.  It always comes back to bite you in the end.  Always.  The instant you start getting arrogant, you might as well pack your bags.  And the ladies only voted you out because you painted a target on your back.  Otherwise, they probably would have left you alone.

Arrow – The producers promised an emotional goodbye to Sara, and they really delivered.  For once, I enjoyed the flashback, too, with Tommy in it.  This may be the best episode of Arrow in a while, certainly stronger than last week.  And we can already see the direction that Laurel will be going this year as she takes steps toward becoming the next Black Canary.  So glad it looks like they will be giving her something good to do.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: The Legend of Sleepy Harlow by Kylie Logan (League of Literary Ladies #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and a strong mystery mixed with humor
Cons: Needed a final edit for continuity issues
The Bottom Line:
Halloween cozy
Mysteries, great characters
Lacking good edit

Sleepy Editing Detracted From What Could Have Been a Great Book

I have truly fallen in love with the League of Literary Ladies.  This is my third time visiting them on South Bass Island this year, and I just love seeing how their current literary reads gives clues to modern mysteries.  Just in time for Halloween, we get the latest in the series, The Legend of Sleepy Harlow.  I loved it despite some serious editing flaws.

October is descending on Put-In-Bay, the main town on the island, and as the residents begin to get ready for the winter season, Bea has one last big group, the Elkhart Ghost Getters.  They are hot on the trail of the ghost of Charles “Sleepy” Harlow, an infamous local gangster who was murdered in 1930 but made his living before that running alcohol into the area from Canada during Prohibition.

However, what Bea didn’t realize is that the members of EGG had been on the island the previous October.  On that first trip, they had made some enemies, including Bea’s friend Kate.  The tension is even worse this time around, and after a flair up with Kate, one of the members of the group is found murdered.  With Kate an obvious suspect, Bea begins to question her guests to find out who the killer might really be.  Can she do it?  And is Sleepy really revisiting the island as a ghost?

Like the first two in the series, this book is fast paced and fun.  The plot weaves all over the place and threw many clues at me that just confused me until everything came together at the end.  There were even a nice couple of creepy ghost scenes that weren’t really that scary but were definitely fun and added to the plot.  The allusions to The Legend of Sleepy Hallow weren’t as strong as some of the comparisons in the first two books, but that was a minor point.

I also liked the characters.  The main women have been strong since day one, and that continues here.  This is more Bea’s show than in previous books (even though she’s always been the main character), but those scenes with all of the women are some of the best, and we really get to see a progression in them and their friendships.  The suspects are equally as strong, and that also helped confuse me on who did it until the end.

Plus these books always have a nice sense of humor.  Between some fun events and Bea’s comments in the first person narration, I got some grins and laughs from the book.

So what is my complaint?  There were times when this book felt like a draft that needed a final edit.  Early in the book, an upcoming event is mentioned and the prep for it plays an important part in an early scene.  Then it is never mentioned again, even in passing.  I would think we’d at least get an acknowledgement that is happened without incident.  Near the climax of the book, I think we experienced two October 30ths in a row, although I’m not completely certain on that.  Bea at one point mentions some guests she has coming to stay at her bed and breakfast in a week, but they never show up and no explanation is ever made.  All of these would be annoyances, but I would chalk them up to me missing something in the passage of time.  However, I know that in the final 100 pages, the location where the body was found is changed.  It is mentioned multiple times by multiple characters that Bea found the body in one location, when it was really in another.  That’s a very big detail for the characters to get wrong.  That’s what makes me think that an earlier version of the story didn’t get fully edited to include the changes in the later drafts.

Fortunately, all those editing errors have no real change on the outcome of the mystery, so while they annoy, they are not a fatal issue with the book.

Still, it saddens me because The Legend of Sleepy Harlow could have been another outstanding addition to the fun series.  I still definitely enjoyed it, but I hope the attention to detail is better in any future books.