Holidays are never happy occasions for a pair of sleuthing sisters.
Bernie and Libby Simmons are so used to murders arriving on holidays (A Catered Tea Party, 2016, etc.) that they’re hardly surprised when one turns up for Halloween—which is, after all, made for murder. The sisters are catering a costume party for Darius Witherspoon, who’s been under a lot of stress since the disappearance of his wife, Penelope, from their Manhattan apartment. Bernie and Libby have recently bought a condo at the remodeled Berkshire Arms, not too far up the Hudson River from the city, and Darius had also bought a condo there before his wife disappeared, hoping to move in soon. He decides to throw his party despite Penelope's disappearance: "Halloween was her favorite holiday," he tells Bernie and Libby. The sisters' best efforts to set up a tasty feast come to a crashing end, though, when Darius flies out his apartment window with a rope around his neck. The sheriff, who already has it in for the amateur sleuths, writes it off as suicide, but once Bernie opens the envelope that Darius insisted she keep in her safe, they’re sure it was murder. The envelope contains $5,000 and a plea for the sisters to investigate his death. Darius’ enemies include his partner in a gallery the dead man neglected, preferring to go on treasure hunting expeditions that never panned out. Nor is he beloved of the owner of the Berkshire Arms and his son, both of whom lost money in one of his schemes. Bernie and Libby manage to get themselves locked on the roof of the Berkshire Arms. Escaping, they find the body of Penelope Witherspoon, the missing wife, hanging in a tree. As the sisters stumble from one investigation to the next, they are ever hopeful even though they never seem to get the right answers to their questions.
The killer may be elusive, but the plot is tangled in far too many red herrings.