Pumpkin Picking with Murder (Otter Lake Mysteries #2) Review
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As the temperatures cool and the leaves begin changing color, it’s time for apple picking and corn mazes and pumpkin spice everything. But in Auralee Wallace’s second Otter Lake Mystery, Pumpkin Picking with Murder, it’s also a time for gossip, sleuthing, and, of course, more dead bodies.

The story returns to Otter Lake, New Hampshire, with Erica Bloom, Chicago court stenographer and reluctant amateur sleuth. Her plan is to return home for a week, enjoy the town’s Fall Festival, and spend some important quality time with handsome Sheriff Grady Forrester. But when one of the town’s residents dies in the Tunnel of Love—and one of Erica’s eccentric honorary aunts, Tweety, is accused of murder—her relaxing (and romantic) week away turns into yet another murder investigation. And no matter how much Erica wants to make things work with Grady, she refuses to back down until she clears Tweety’s name.

In Skinny Dipping with Murder, the author introduced cozy mystery readers to the quirky characters of Otter Lake—a close-knit town that’s made up of lakes and islands, where people get from place to place by boat. It’s a town filled with secrets and gossip and all kinds of small-town wackiness—not the least of which comes from Erica and her old friend, Freddie, who transformed himself from reclusive rich kid to private security guard after their first experience with sleuthing. And, together, they get themselves into all kinds of trouble while trying to solve the town’s latest mystery.

Admittedly, Erica and Freddie aren’t the most mature, rational characters. Quite the opposite, in fact. They tend to act first and think later, blatantly disregarding any reasonable advice while coming up with their own harebrained (and sometimes downright dangerous) schemes. At times, they go a little too far—even for comical cozy mystery characters. Freddie’s growing ego is sometimes rather maddening—as it Erica’s willingness to risk relationships and lives in order to do things her own way. But their impulsiveness and crazy ideas also get them into the kinds of silly situations that make for a fun-filled cozy read.

While Erica and Freddie may not be at their best in their second outing, cozy mystery fans will still enjoy the small-town quirkiness of Otter Lake. So pour yourself a big mug of hot cider, curl up in front of the fire, and settle in for a little bit of romance, a little bit of mystery, and a whole lot of wild and wacky fall festival adventures.

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