Leigh Perry's latest Family Skeleton mystery is a delightful Halloween treat. However, The Skeleton Haunts a House will be delightful whenever a reader has time to pick it up. In this case, the emphasis isn't on Halloween or the skeleton, although they're both essential to the story. But, the emphasis on family is even more important.
Adjunct professor Georgia Thackery isn't a big fan of haunted houses. However, her sister, Deborah, is in charge of this year's Halloween Howl at McQuaid University where McQuaid Hall becomes McHades Hall. And, Georgia's daughter, Madison, is one of the volunteers. So Georgia does dress up and accompany her best friend, Sid the skeleton. It's the one time of year when Sid can put on a costume and leave the house. No one counted on a murder in McQuaid Hall, though. And, Sid is trapped in the haunted house, dressed as Scooby-Doo, while the police interview workers, actors, and the tour groups.
The entire family rallies to cover for Sid, including Georgia's parents, newly returned from their sabbatical from the university. And, Georgia is relieved to know they can turn the case over to the police. But, when Deborah pushes for Sid and Georgia to investigate so McHades Hall can reopen, they agree. Georgia knows the suspect arrested has to be innocent. Sid just enjoys the challenge of the investigation and the opportunity to search for answers on the Internet.
Sid and Georgia make an amusing detective duo. They're definitely amateurs, fumbling through the investigation as they come up with odd solutions. And, Georgia knows they're amateurs. When Deborah complains that their methods aren't methodical, Georgia points out, "You can't expect us to act like professional detectives." They try out solutions, until they find the right answer. And, Georgia and Sid take care to protect each other as they try to make sure there is always back up.
Georgia's family is unconventional with three professors, a locksmith, a teenager, and a skeleton. The family is supportive of each other, which makes for an appealing cast. Sid's addition to the family makes the personalities amusing and quirky.
The Skeleton Haunts a House has the perfect setting for a mystery, a college campus with a haunted hall at Halloween, and a carnival next door. But, underneath the light atmosphere created by the enjoyable setting and attractive cast, there is a serious crime. And, Perry deftly handles the shocking background for the murder.
Sid and McHades Hall, the light touch of the Scooby-Doo costumes, and the carnival, are all perfect for a Halloween mystery. Actually, though, The Skeleton Haunts a House, will be a treat, not a trick, any time of year.
Leigh Perry's website is www.leighperryauthor.com
The Skeleton Haunts a House by Leigh Perry. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425255858 (paperback), 289p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.