Monday, October 30, 2006

Scaring Up a Fitting Read

If any holiday seems perfectly paired to crime fiction, it’s Halloween. You don’t see bloody knives used as decorations at Christmas, or gravestones punctuating front yards at Easter. No, Halloween--with its hints of occult-born misdeeds and its celebration of the darker side of human existence--best evokes the traditional elements of this genre: mystery, mayhem, and the restless spirits of the unjustly deceased. Which may be why so many crime novels have been written over the years with Halloween elements and settings, or with features that at least make reading them seem especially appropriate on October 31.

Just consider, for instance, Agatha Christie’s Halloween Party (a Hercule Poirot mystery), or Charles Williams’ All Hallows’ Eve, or David Robbins’ Spook Night. How about Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who ... Talked to Ghosts, or Ed McBain’s Tricks (an 87th Precinct Mystery), or Susan Wittig Albert’s Witches Bane?

If you’re in the market for an enchanting mystery to match the mood of this centuries-old holiday, look no further than these two lists--from and the Springfield (Massachusetts) City Library.

READ MORE:The Mystery of the Halloween Jack o’Lantern” (

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