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A Catered Halloween (Mystery with Recipes) Hardcover – August 26, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Crawford's fun, well-plotted fifth culinary cozy to feature Bernadette and Libby Simmons (after 2007's A Catered Valentine's Day), the sisters cater a fundraiser for the Longely, N.Y., volunteer firemen that includes a high-tech haunted house, formerly the Peabody School. In a room evoking the setting of Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum, the severed head that rolls down some stairs and lands at Libby's feet proves to be real. The victim, Amethyst Applegate, had been a student years earlier at the Peabody School, where another student at the time, Bessie Osgood, died under suspicious circumstances. Is Bessie's ghost still haunting the place? Aided by their father, Sean, the town's retired police chief, Bernie and Libby discover that Amethyst, a notorious home wrecker, had no lack of enemies. A selection of delectable seasonal recipes rounds out the volume. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

ISIS CRAWFORD was born in Egypt to parents who were in the diplomatic corps. When she was five, her family returned to the States, where her mother opened a restaurant in Upper Westchester County and her father became a university professor. Since then Isis has combined her parents’ love of food and travel by running a catering service as well as penning numerous travel-related articles about places ranging from Omsk to Paraguay. Married, with twin boys, she presently resides in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where she is working on the next Bernie and Libby culinary mystery. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Mystery with Recipes
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758221924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758221926
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,075,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rushmore VINE VOICE on October 30, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It wasn't till I was nearly done with this book that I realized I had read A Catered Christmas, another book in the series.

I have trouble engaging with these characters. I can't get a picture of them in my head. Are Bernie and Libby in their 20s, 30s, 40s? We get so few insights into their relationship. The interplay between their dad Sean and Marvin, the guy who drives him around (also dating one of the sisters - I forget which), is much better developed.

I know plot is important in mysteries, maybe more important than characters, and the plot in this one is fine. It's not hard to read, and Libby and Bernie are likeable enough. I feel kind of bad about it, but this writer just doesn't draw me in. There are several mystery series set in the world of catering, restaurants, tea shops, etc., that have memorable characters and appealing sleuths. This one just doesn't do it for me. Sorry.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was excited when I saw this series of books - it is a mystery series with a holiday theme. It seemed perfect for me, so I started off with the Halloween book.

It took me a long time to read this book; I thought I would never finish it. It is dry, boring, lacks charm, uninteresting. Of all the one-star books, this would be the worst of them all. I will never read another book of this series. I didn't care for the characters. I didn't like anything about this book.

The idea of this book and the series seems like something good. Two sisters run a catering shop, and each book is around a holiday or occasion. So the idea of the book looks good on paper. But the actual book was so boring and charmless. Sometimes it just rambled on, and I couldn't get interested in the characters. I didn't care for the sisters or the dad, or anybody else. And character development wasn't that great, but what it was, I didn't care for any of them. It was boring to say the least.

The two sisters were determined to find out who killed the victim (I will not say who). They used some things that were supposed to be "exciting" when solving a mystery, such as the puzzle box, viewmaster, etc, but I couldn't even get interested in those things. Bessie Osgood had died at the old school, and then someone else was murdered (the someone whom I won't say who). It brought back the memories of the pleated skirts, etc. There is also paranormal activity in this book. I just couldn't get into it. The last page of the actual book was 321 (not counting the recipes), and that was 321 too many. I did finish the book (I hardly ever leave a book unread.) But I will never read another book in this series. I felt zero coziness in this book.
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By A Customer on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Amethyst Applegate receives a blackmail letter from deceased Bessie Osgood, who died years ago when they attended school together. Unshaken Amethyst plans to take care of the blackmailer as she took care of Bessie.

The Simmons sisters, Libby and Bernie, owners of A Little Taste of Heaven, are ecstatic to cater the Halloween festivities at the Peabody School, a place rumored to be haunted. Businessman Mark Kane is going all out to include construction of a haunted house with high tech special effects that a Hollywood horror move would envy. Everyone is stunned when they see a torso on a table with the severed head of Amethyst nearby.

Finding the killer will not prove easy as everyone has a motive to murder the universally loathed Amethyst whose list of enemies exceeds the Longley phonebook. Libby thinks she sees the ghost of Bessie, but rationalizes that her imagination got the best of her rather than her intuitive powers. Bob Small who is working at the haunted house has a strong reason to kill Amethyst because he spent jail time due to a stunt she pulled. Inez Colley hated the female abomination for stealing her husband and her wealth by seducing and blackmailing her weak spouse. Zachary Timberland held Amethyst culpable for ruining his daughter Zoe. The list goes on. However, the police arrest Bob as he is the only one with opportunity. The Simmons siblings think otherwise so with their father along they investigate the murder of an odious witch.

Isis Crawford outdoes her usual superb catered amateur sleuth novels with A CATERED HALLOWEEN as ghosts and Libby's visions enhance a whodunit in which the townsfolk, the sisters, and the readers agree beheading is befitting the odious ogress.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'd have loved it to be longer because I like this kind of story with a paranormal element. I won't bore you with a plot summary as I know other reviewers are fond of doing that. I also appreciate that this book has chapter demarcations as the last book's formatting skipped their inclusion. Chapter demarcations make it so much easier to see how close you are to the end of a chapter or to find a stopping place when you need to do so. There were only a few problems with the book. First, there were a few times when punctuation was in the wrong place. Then, there were times where it was not exactly clear in a conversation who was supposed to be speaking between the participants. Lastly, I think there were a few times when the wrong person's name was used or used backwards in a conversation. That would make it 4.5 stars for me. Overall, it was a nice book and I am enjoying the characters and the series overall. If you liked the previous books, I think you should give this one a shot. Have at it because I don't think you'll be disappointed. I can't wait to read the next one.
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