A Lindy Haggerty Mystery #4
September 2003 paperback
September 2002 hard cover
Former dancer Lindy Haggerty has pirouetted her way through a few cases of murder and mayhem. Now, she’s about to tackle the performance of a lifetime, as the director of an amateur production in a small-town Halloween carnival that’s turning into a real dance of death…
At first, the Mischief Night Marathon seems like a good idea to Lindy. It promises to be an old-fashioned Halloween celebration, complete with bonfire, ghost stories, a Haunted Hay Ride, plenty of woods and dilapidated buildings for atmosphere, and a theatrical revue, directed by Lindy herself. And it’s a chance to raise money for a teen center to be housed at the historic VanCleef Farm site where the fair will be held. But instead of being a festive good time, Mischief Night is living up to its name, turning into a nightmare of flaring egos and outright hostility among the planners and participants. And then the pranks begin…
Initially they seem harmless, if annoying—just a series of bizarre practical jokes marked by the same calling card: a chilling limerick, based on the Seven Deadly Sins in Edmund Spencer’s, The Fairie Queen. Someone seems to know a lot about Lindy’s friends and neighbors, from their envy and gluttony, to their idleness and avarice. But what begins as misguided fun soon turns deadly when the body of sexy dilettante, Derrick Justin, is found hanging from a rigged platform with a single word—lechery—pinned to his shirt.
With the night’s ghoulish festivities becoming all-too-frighteningly real, it’s up to Lindy to discover who has a vested interest in ruining Mischief Night forever. Is it Melanie Grant, the acerbic drama teacher? Town scion Howard Porter, or his spoiled, tantrum-throwing daughter, Fallon? Could it be high school senior, Bryan Morrison, President of the Teen Council, whose disdain for the “weirdos” in the drama club is well-documented? And what about Adam Crabtree, a reclusive hermit and last remaining descendant of the VanCleef family, the only man who could still stake a claim on the land? As the night builds towards its unpredictable crescendo, Lindy has good reason to find a killer with more tricks than treats in store…because an eighth sin has been created just for Lindy…a sin more deadly than all the others…