“I think I have a stalker,” the message read. “If you’re reading this I’m either missing or dead. My life may depend on what you do. Please find out what happened to me. You’re the only one I can trust.”
It’s time to prepare for her painting chapter’s annual Halloween boutique house event, but Rory Anderson has other things on her mind. Her friend, Zelena, has sent her a cryptic email begging for help, and no one has seen Zelena since the painting group’s decoration meeting days earlier.
Despite the protests of her boyfriend, a detective with the Vista Beach police department, Rory pursues the few leads she has to find Zelena. But someone is watching Rory, and each new clue she uncovers leads her closer to danger. Is Zelena alive or dead? And if she’s already dead, will Rory be able to find out the truth behind Zelena’s disappearance without suffering the same fate?
- If a mystery is set during Halloween, it should be filled with tons of Halloween spirit. Unfortunately, not all Halloween mysteries are. Happily, Designed For Haunting is chock-full of spooky decorations, creepy costumes, and haunting happenings.
A lot is going on in this mystery. Beyond Zelena’s disappearance, the town is being plagued by a group of practical jokesters, Rory’s neighbor is making mysterious midnight trips, and a local legend about a ghostly boy rising up from the ocean takes on a life of its own. Oh, and don’t forget to throw in rising tensions between the ladies in the painting group and romantic troubles for Rory and her detective. The abundance of action makes this a quick read.
The mystery of what happens to poor Zelena is especially twisty, and very neatly plotted. I’m pleased with the ending—it is something I didn’t see coming and, after reviewing the clues again, am surprised to have missed. The beach setting is put to good use (sometimes, books set near an ocean don’t really have much actual beach ambiance) with visits to piers and walks on the sand.
Designed For Haunting is a pleasant addition to this charming series and perfect reading for the holiday.