Death by Pumpkin Spice is the third book in the Bookstore Cafe series by Alex Erickson. I have not read the two previous books, but think I caught up to the important action pretty quickly. If I had read the other books I would have had a better understanding of the characters and their relationships.
Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat, but a date with Will Foster just might be worth it. A run-in with an old flame, a failed marriage proposal, and a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns are just the start of an eventful evening. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely. With the estate on lock down and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them
Death by Pumpkin Spice is more than the typical cozy mystery. There are the quirky and fun characters that I expect (and loved) and more crimes and twists than I had hoped for. Since I have not read the previous books I did not have the previous knowledge of the relationship dynamics between Krissy and her co-workers, Paul, Will, the ex, and other characters. I really enjoyed the Agatha Christie style set up and the wacky nature of the house. I liked that Krissy is socially awkward and uncomfortable in the social circle she is thrown into here. I thought the mystery was well done, and had just enough red herrings and odd twists to keep me interested without being overwhelming. My only real issue with the read is Krissy's inner dialogue about the virtues of both Will and Paul. I could understand it to a point, it explained how they all ended up there and gave an extra dramatic element, but I think there was just too much of her mental waffling between the two when no one was actually pushing her to make a decision or make a move.