My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When Spirited Construction is engaged to renovate Sleepy Hollow Manor for Bronson Van Tassell in preparation for hosting the annual Bohemian Lake Halloween festivities, Junie and Jack Young look forward to sprucing up the historic 17th-century Dutch farmhouse. And, although the renovation proved simple enough, weird things begin to happen right away. Not only does Junie encounter an unusually strong female ghost at the manor, but also the spirit of a long-dead Hessian soldier from the American Revolutionary War still roams the grounds of the manor farm on his ghostly, black stallion in search of his missing head. It is rumored that catching sight of this frightening apparition foretells tragedy for the unlucky viewer. In addition, there is a mysterious feud going on between Bronson and two of his neighbors, all having to do with a past Halloween event when Bronson’s daughter had a terrible horseback riding accident, and a neighbor’s son disappeared.
When Bronson is startled into a mini-stroke by the appearance of the Headless Horseman and Junie is confronted by a burglar while alone at the manor, she takes matters into her own hands to figure out what’s going on and get it to stop.Black Cats, Corpses, and The Pumpkin Pantry is book five and the final entry in the Haunted House Flippers storyline of the larger Bohemian Lake series, and author Rachael Stapleton really has Junie and Jack exiting center stage in grand style. Bohemian Lake is a well-developed little place, and the author states in the endnote, that Jack and Junie will still be around and make appearances in forthcoming series’ books, much like other characters from subplots appeared in this one: Eve Banter, Nelle Storey, Mallory Vianu, to name a few. Even the Mabels and the Victorian Ladies Club stopped in for a visit in this book.
This final episode starring the Youngs though, is full of action – continuous and non-stop. Maybe more than in any of the previous books, too, we get a good look into Jack and Junie’s life together, and it is good. They really have grown as a couple since their very first adventure.And, like some of the other Bohemian Lake novels, this one looks into a classic story. It features the elements of Washington Irving’s famous tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (a particular pleasure for me as my hometown is named after Irving and celebrates his legacy with a variety of annual events.) The Bohemian Lake version of what happened to the characters of Sleepy Hollow fame is well done and complex. The mysteries are solid, and the resolution surprising but plausible. All in all, the combination of familiar characters, the riff on the old classic tale, and the Halloween setting make for an entertaining story.
I recommend that readers start with the first book in this series and continue reading in order of publication, but this one just might be able to stand on its own and still deliver the goods. However, if paranormal cozies are your thing, do yourself a favor and read the whole series from start to finish; they are certainly worth it.I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy.
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