The haunted-house tour a 50-ish Kansas widow and her significant other plan at his inn provides more jolts than they bargained for.
No wonder Stone Van Patten’s renovated Victorian mansion in Rockdale, Mo., seems perfect for a Halloween haunt. After all, the death of Walter Sneed, the young man they hire to play a vampire, is the second murder at the Alexandria Inn. Naturally, intrepid sleuth Lexie Starr, who splits her time between the inn and her apartment back in Shawnee, is determined to solve the crime before the inn’s reputation is ruined. Walter was a pleasant young college student from a dysfunctional family. His divorced father in Albuquerque wanted Walter to join his business, his mother has severe mental problems, his sister is jealous and his half brother seems totally uninterested. His longtime girlfriend is all the more devastated because of the nasty rivalry between her and a few other girls Walter had dated. Local detective Wyatt Johnston, who loves to visit the inn for snacks or dinner, cuts Lexie a lot more slack than most police officers would, and she takes full advantage of the chances to snoop. Even though she has to cook for the couple staying at the inn, Lexie manages to sneak off and investigate.
The unlikely ending of Lexie’s third (The Extinguished Guest, 2010, etc.) caps the escapades of a sleuth many readers may find annoying at best.