Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong story, great characters, Halloween spirit
Cons: None, not that I was looking berry hard for any
The Bottom Line:
Halloween and health
Combine for berry good fun
That’s a page turner
Halloween Mischief and Murder
The Berry Basket Mysteries by Sharon Farrow have quickly become a favorite series of mine. Mulberry Mischief is the fourth book in the series, and it is another book filled with mayhem, mischief, and murder.
It’s the week before Halloween in Oriole Point, Michigan, yet the town is focusing on health thanks to the Haunted Halloween Harvest Health Fair. Naturally, Marlee Jacob is participating some with products from her store, The Berry Basket, but people have come in droves thanks to the celebrities that have been booked to appear this week and offer their expertise on nutrition and exercise.
The Saturday the festival opens, Marlee is cornered by Leticia the Lake Lady. Leticia is one of the odd characters who call the town home. She is ranting about the shadow people who have come to town and demanding that Marlee order mulberries so Leticia can use their protective properties to cover her cabin. Marlee thinks Leticia is harmless if a little off, but that’s before a dead body turns up. Will the latest happenings disrupt the health fair?
Before we go any further, I should issue a spoiler warning. Not for this review, but for this book. The previous book in the series included a major event in Marlee’s personal life which is discussed in passing here. Frankly, there’s no way around it. If you care to find out about that from the book itself, I recommend you read the books in order. Honestly, you are in for a treat because this series is fantastic.
As usual, the plot starts strongly and never lets go until we reach the climax. We spend a little bit meeting characters before the murder takes place, so when we do find the body, we are able to jump right in. Plus, there are some pretty mysterious things happening even before the dead body turns up. Once that happens, we start to learn even more things that change our opinions of the characters we’ve met. The climax is once again fantastic and perfectly wraps up all the questions we’d had over the course of the book.
I’ve already mentioned the characters several times, which should tell you the suspects are fantastic. Honestly, I could have seen any of them having done it until Marlee gets the final clues that nail it down.
However, one reason I love these books are the other characters – the series regulars. Marlee is surrounded by a great group of friends and employees at her store. They add plenty of color to the story and help lighten a story that has some dark tinges to it at times.
I cling to summer as long as I can, refusing to admit that fall has arrived and winter is coming until I can’t put it off any longer, so picking up a Halloween book in August wouldn’t have been my first choice. However, despite the Southern California summer heat, this book put me in the fall mood with the descriptions of the weather and the Halloween plans. I am still not ready to admit that summer is winding down, but I did enjoy the spirit of the season presented here.
And, what is a book about berries without some berry inspired recipes? We get four of them here – two that feature mulberries and two that are berry inspired Halloween themed treats.
I really can’t recommend this series highly enough. If you haven’t met Marlee yet, you need to do so today. And if you are already a fan, you’ll be thrilled with her latest adventure in Mulberry Mischief.
Need more berries in your life? Here are the rest of the Berry Basket Mysteries in order.
NOTE: I received a copy of this book.