Candy Corn Murder (Lucy Stone, Book 22) Review
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Unabridged Digital Audiobook: 7 hours, 42 minutes
Read by Lisa Larsen

This time of year, it’s hard to miss the spooky decorations, the variety of costumes, and the gigantic bags of candy that are prominently displayed at your favorite stores. Everyone is gearing up for Halloween. But in the audio version of author Leslie Meier’s Halloween-themed Lucy Stone Mystery, Candy Corn Murder, one town’s Halloween preparations turn deadly.

The story finds the residents of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, eagerly preparing for their first-annual Giant Pumpkin Fest. For months, they’ve been pampering pumpkins for the pumpkin weigh-in. They’ve been engineering contraptions for the pumpkin hurl. And they’ve been planning their strategy for the pumpkin-boat regatta. But it seems that someone wants the festival to fail. What starts out as a series of troubling acts of vandalism soon turns deadly—and when her husband, Bill, comes under suspicion, local reporter and frazzled grandma Lucy Stone begins looking for answers.

Candy Corn Murder is Meier’s twenty-second Lucy Stone Mystery—and, along the way, she’s built a loyal fan base of regular readers who love following Lucy and her family on each new adventure. For those readers, the latest installment will feel like a reunion with an old friend—and they’re sure to enjoy catching up with Lucy as she juggles work and a busy family life while she cares for her energetic grandson, Patrick.

For the rest of us, though—those who don’t have a connection to the characters and their ongoing story—it’s a frustrating read. Lucy spends the first half of the story grumbling about her grandson’s outspoken daycare director, nagging about her husband’s free-loading, beer-swilling friend, and undermining her daughter-in-law’s authority as a mother while, somewhere in the background, the town eagerly prepares for the festival. At times, her complaints may seem somewhat justified, but her general attitude of disgust toward anyone who doesn’t agree with her makes Lucy seem old-fashioned and arrogant—and Lisa Larsen’s rather haughty narration definitely doesn’t make her any more likable.

Meanwhile, though the book’s focus occasionally shifts to the Giant Pumpkin Fest shenanigans, it still takes a while for the action to build. The initial “crimes” are merely pumpkin smashings—and Lucy and her colleagues actually take the time to debate whether posting pictures of the smashed pumpkins on the front of their weekly paper would be too disturbing for readers. It isn’t until halfway through the book that the mystery turns somewhat interesting—but even then, it moves at such a sluggish pace that readers may find it challenging to stay engaged.

Though fans of Lucy Stone’s small-town adventures may enjoy the cozy mystery of Candy Corn Murder, newcomers may struggle to warm up to the character and her sluggish story. So unless you’re a long-time reader, it’s best to find some other way to get in the Halloween spirit.

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