Darci Hannah: Murder at the Pumpkin Pageant

Beacon Bakeshop #4

For those of us who prefer the cooler autumn months, picking up a copy of Murder at the Pumpkin Pageant by Darci Hannah is a good way to put the summer on pause. This is the fourth book of her Beacon Bakeshop Mystery series. It takes place during Halloween, and  baker and amateur sleuth Lindsey Bakewell has the pumpkin spice everything in full swing. Her bakery is inside the local old lighthouse in Beacon Harbor, Michigan. While it had to undergo many renovations to be bake-shop ready, the biggest trademark of the lighthouse remains: the ghost of the late lighthouse keeper Captain Willy Riggs. Everyone in town knows Captain Riggs haunts the lighthouse, and even creates “ghost lights” that seem to always harbinger some fatal danger. While Lindsey is a firm believer in her ghostly roommate, she is not so keen on the town seeing her bakery as a local haunted hot spot.

However, her best friend Kennedy has very different plans, wanting to use the legend of the ghostly lighthouse keeper to gain more followers for her podcast. While Lindsey is put off that Kennedy set up a ghost hunt, complete with famous internet ghost chasers known as the Ghost Guys, she also wants to help her friend out as best she can. A dead body was the last thing anyone expected to find, especially Kennedy. Distraught at not only the death of someone she had just met and genuinely liked, but also by yet another body associated with her bakery, Lindsey decides to jump into action and investigate things herself. Well, with Kennedy and her boyfriend Rory, that is. She is also more than willing and happy to share any theories or proof she might come across with the local police. Armed with pumpkin spice scones and a large Newfoundland named Welly, Lindsey is ready to face anything.

Inserting herself into the investigation is tricky, as at this point, she is very much on the radar of the local police, and they do not want her to put herself or her friends in harm’s way. The Beacon Bakeshop is an iconic piece of the town’s history, and despite Lindsey’s wishes the lighthouse’s past will continue to affect her life until all its mysteries and secrets are uncovered. Captain Willy Riggs does not communicate directly with her, but the flicker of lights, footsteps, or the smell of tobacco often betray his presence. Darci Hannah’s fourth book is a wonderful addition to her series and I highly recommend this book to any looking for a delightful Halloween escape lakeside. There is a little bit of something for everyone – dogs, a ghost, costumes, a murder, romance, intrigue, and of course pumpkin spiced everything. One really can’t have too much of that, and there are some rather tasty recipes in the back that readers will have a hard time passing up. –Carla Schantz