Trick or Deceit Mystery (A Celebration Bay Mystery) by Shelley Freydont (Amazon Link)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Description: This October in Celebration Bay you can't hit a black cat without hitting a haunted house. There are three finalists in the contest for the town's official Haunted House, and ten thousand dollars will go to the winner, with the rest of the contributions and proceeds funding a new community center. Event coordinator Liv Montgomery has invited her friend Jonathan Preston, the debonair CEO of a philanthropic organization, hoping he will award a grant to the center.
But after the Museum of Yankee Horrors wins first prize, the transformed Victorian boarding house is vandalized... and among the scattered mannequins of Hester Pyrnne, Lizzie Borden, and the Headless Horseman, a real dead body is found - one of the contest judges. Now in addition to playing host to Jon, Liv has to play detective and coordinate the clues to unmask a self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner. (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: I thoroughly enjoyed Freydont's historical mystery, A Gilded Grave, and wanted to try this new book in the Celebration Bay series.
My Impression: First off - can Celebration Bay be a real place? Please? It'd be high up on my travel itinerary if it was. I mean if you get rid of all the murder the holiday celebrations sound like lots of fun!
While this is not the first book in the series it was the first one I've read and this is an easy series to jump into. I immediately got to know Liv, Ted and the rest of the Celebration Bay residents. I liked that Liv is still getting settled in and getting used to living in a small town but isn't angsty about it and the town has funding problems like most small towns do.
The mystery itself gets started pretty early in the book and there are tons of misdirection, red herrings and distractions. I liked that Liv relied on the gossip mill for information but did report to the sheriff if she though of anything or discovered anything of importance. I enjoyed watching Liv deal with all the drama of fundraising and dealing with small town politics and I especially liked that she does have a support team and isn't all on her own.
I did figure out the solution fairly early on but I enjoyed seeing how it all unraveled. I'm also looking forward to seeing more of these characters and getting to know them better. I'm hoping to see more of Yolanda especially. I'm planning on getting the rest of the series and reading the books near each of the holidays they're set around.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!
Would I Recommend this Book?: If you like mysteries on the cozier side I think you would enjoy this and the holiday festivals are an extra bit of fun.