The Great Pumpkin Caper

The Great Pumpkin Caper
by Melanie Jackson

The Great Pumpkin Caper (A Chloe Boston Mystery #10)

It’s Halloween and this year Chloe is certain she’ll win the pumpkin carving contest, but the night before the competition someone uses Mr. Jackman’s giant pumpkin to squash an unpopular dentist. This is publicity the town doesn’t need. Can Chloe solve the pumpkin caper and save Halloween?

If you are a fan of Nancy Pickard or Susan Conant you are going to love the cozy hometown feel of Moving Violation.

The Great Pumpkin Caper is the 10th book in the Chloe Boston mystery series and the last Chloe Boston novel I will be reviewing this month.

This story starts less than a month after the events in Haunted, and Chloe is back at work part-time. She still does not know what she wants to do with her life but she has begun looking for other activities to occupy her time such as taking online classes to get her private investigator license and participating in her Lit-Wit group.  She has also taken to growing gigantic pumpkins and developing her own style of squash art.  Until, the local dentist is crushed under one of the massive pumpkins and Chloe is pulled in to another murder investigation.

This is my least favorite of the three Halloween themed Chloe Boston mysteries.  Now, this doesn’t mean it is bad because in actuality the story is quite good.  It is just the majority of the story-line is dedicated to Chloe getting her life together instead of the actual murder mystery.  Chloe felt lost during Haunted, and she is still somewhat frustrated about her future during The Great Pumpkin Caper.  There are many sections dedicated to psycho-analyzing human violence and Chloe struggling to find the joy in small things.

It is still a nice October read and well worth it if you are interested in growing and carving pumpkins. Just expect to read more about ‘the questions of life’ instead of a daring murder mystery. Let me know what you think!

Lindsay

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Haunted

Haunted

by Melanie Jackson

Haunted (A Chloe Boston Mystery #9)

Initially suspended from the Hope Falls Police Department, Chloe takes on an urgent case for Alex and finds herself playing ghost buster. Haunted is an action packed, cliff hanger of a cozy. You’ve come this far, why not go all the way?

Haunted is the 9th book, and my favorite, of the Chloe Boston mystery series.  The story takes place a year after the events in The Pumpkin Thief, and Chloe is now happily married to Alex and still working as the town meter maid.  But Chloe is struggling.  She is happy but she fells like something is missing.  Should she do a different job?  Should she and Alex start a family?  Chloe needs answers and the chief gives her a month of medical leave to find her bearings and make a decision.

She utilizes her time off by working as a private investigator for Alex and her first assignment is more surprising than she ever expected.  No violence or gruesome murder like in The Pumpkin Thief.  Haunted is a proper ghost story that pushes Chloe to reexamine what makes her happy with her life.  Chloe must solve a long forgotten crime to put a ghostly soul to rest.  Throw in her arch-nemeses, Lardhead Gordon and Cousin Althea, having a baby; working with her snooty mother-in-law on a baby shower, and a soured relationship between two of her closest friends and you have a hectic Chloe!

Haunted is my favorite because I can connect with Chloe on all levels: happy with my job but not sure its where I’m supposed to be, happily married but wondering if I really want children, and surrounded by family who are way too pushy at times but always mean well.  It may not be the review you expected, but I consider Haunted a good read, especially for those dealing with similar points.

No, it does not contain a gory murder or ghosts that will give you nightmares, but it does have a good haunted mystery to solve and a cast of interesting, and loving, characters.  It is well worth the afternoon read.  Has anyone else have books speak to them?

Lindsay

The Pumpkin Thief

The Pumpkin Thief

by Melanie Jackson

The Pumpkin Thief (A Chloe Boston Mystery, #2)

Chloe Boston, meter maid and unofficial sleuth of the Hope Falls Police Department, is on the trail of the Halloween Killer and a second troublesome criminal, the Pumpkin Thief, who has robbed every pumpkin patch in town. Aided by her dog and new boyfriend, Chloe is closing in on Hope Falls public enemies 1 and 2.

A few years back I stumbled upon the Chloe Boston series, which is a seasonal mystery series that  features Chloe Boston, a short meter maid with a natural talent for deductive reasoning.  I have only read the Halloween themed novels in the series and had no problems reading the novels out of order (something that is VERY rare for me).  The books are fun, light, and would be a nice cozy-mystery series to read through out the year.  They are short (I read three over the weekend) and perfect for a warm fall afternoon on the beach!

So for the first book The Pumpkin Thief, which is actually the second book in the series, Chloe Boston is spending Halloween working as the meter maid for Hope Falls.  She has dreams of becoming an official detective for the police department but is having trouble passing the physical aspects of the entrance exam due to her shortness.  Chloe’s Halloween plans are to enjoy the holiday with friend and her dog, Blue, but she is charged by the chief to solve two mysteries.  She must find who murdered an out of town visitor while also uncover who is stealing all the local pumpkins.  Halloween is more exciting than Chloe expected.

It is a little hard to initially get in to The Pumpkin Thief.  The writing is rather plain and listy, but stick with it because it eventually smooths out and gets easier to follow as the book progresses.  Chloe is very opinionated and can come across judgmental at times.  I enjoy her because she has a very literal view of the world and refuses to put up with petty behaviors, but I feel her judgmental nature may irk some readers.  She is likable and relatable for me, as are the rest of the characters.

It is a cozy-mystery so expect to know killer’s identity before you are half way done with the book.  I suggest you ignore this point and take the time to enjoy the story and Chloe’s Halloween adventures.  One of the great things about cozy-mysteries is their predictability and short style.  Reading The Pumpkin Thief always puts me in the Halloween spirit and leaves me craving pumpkin spice cake!

Sidenote:  I will review two other books in the Chloe Boston series this week.  Chloe is why I keep returning to these stories year after year.  She is real to me; many of her personality traits mirror my own.  Plan to read more about that in the coming reviews!  But for now, The Pumpkin Thief is the perfect Halloween cozy-mystery!

Lindsay