Halloween!

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Happy Halloween! Halloween has been absent the last two years here in New York. In 2011, Halloween was a casualty of a surprise snowstorm that knocked out power for days. In 2012, Super Storm Sandy wreaked her havoc. Halloween was the least of our concerns. Now it’s back and I’m excited the glowing jack-o’-lantern I put in the front window will not be the only light on the street and the candy will be Halloween candy, not Christmas stocking treats (though any leftovers I don’t eat will end up under the tree for my nephew and nieces).

Halloween is a popular holiday in the world of cozy mysteries, as the mischief of the season lends itself well to storytelling fun. All Things Murder is set during the summer, so there are no witches or goblins included to enhance the story. The second Veronica Walsh mystery, which I am working on now, is set during late October. It’s appropriate that I finished the first draft the same day I carved the pumpkin. The season inspired me as I wrote‑the autumn colors, the huge monster, mummy and vampire balloons adorning front lawns, the orange lights wrapped around porch railings and strung over doorways. I’ve made Halloween more of a backdrop for the story, using it to add atmosphere and flavor. The story’s murder isn’t Halloween-related. The victim isn’t drowned while bobbing for apples or found in a pumpkin patch, strangled by a killer wearing a zombie mask. I can’t resist a good costume party, however. Hidden truths are often revealed during a masquerade, aren’t they? That is certainly the case at the fictional Halloween festivities, as Veronica learns important information that helps her piece together clues as she works to solve the case. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s a terrific list of Halloween cozies to read as the holiday comes to a close. How do you like your Halloween tales? Do you like a story teeming with the customs of the holiday, or something more subtle and atmospheric?

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