by Barb, loving the end of summer here in Maine
Here’s the blurb
Barbara Ross returns to glorious Maine with a spooky but fun Julia Snowden mystery set during Halloween season.
Three teenage girls having a sleepover on Halloween night get spooked when high schoolers crash the house for a party. But no one expected to find a crasher like Mrs. Zelisko, the elderly third floor tenant, dead in the backyard—dressed in a sheet like a ghost. With her niece traumatized, Julia Snowden must uncover who among the uninvited guests was responsible for devising such a murderous trick . . .
About the book
Scared Off is book 9.5 in the Maine Clambake saga. In other words, it falls chronologically between book 9, Shucked Apart, and book 10, Muddled Through. Scared Off originally appeared in the collection Halloween Party Murder along with novellas by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis, so if you own that book, you already own this story. This week’s Scared Off standalone release is ebook-only. If you are a person who prefers to read in print, there are still copies of Halloween Party Murder available.
Here’s what some nice people said about the novella.
…my favorite novella in the collection. I enjoyed getting to spend some time with the characters, and I loved how the mystery unfolded.Carstairs Considers
Barbara Ross always gives us solid characters that cleverly enhance her atmospheric cozies. Scared Off is a tasty Halloween morsel not to be overlooked this holiday season!Wonder Woman Sixty
…my favorite cozy author, Barbara Ross, …provides us with another excellent installment of her Maine Clambake Mystery series.Criminal Element
What is the deal with the novellas anyway?
This year library speaking events have really come back and I’ve done a bunch. The most common questions seem to be about the novellas. Here are some answers:
- Yes, they are about the Maine Clambake characters, Julia Snowden and friends. They take place in the world of Busman’s Harbor and they do move the narrative forward in important ways. (Especially the later ones.) For those of you eagerly awaiting the next full-length book, they are a good way to visit with the Snowden family and friends.
- Novellas from Kensington are typically 25,000 to 35,000 words, or round and about 100 to 125 pages.
- Given the length, only one of my novellas is structured like a traditional mystery, with the central question of whodunnit? (That one would be Hallowed Out.) The others are structured around the central question, whatisgoingonhere? Though I do promise an answer to all reader questions, including whodunnit by the end of each.
- The novella stories do fall chronologically between the books (see below). In the beginning I had a little trouble with this and the chronology of the first couple is just a little off. Once I got into the flow of one full-length book set immediately before, during, or after the Snowden Family Clambake’s summer season, and one holiday-related novella set during the off-season each year, it really seemed to work.
- I’ve indicated the novellas chronological placement in the list below.
- Nogged Off, book 4.5, comes between Fogged Inn and Iced Under.
- Logged On, book 6.5, comes between Stowed Away and Steamed Open
- Hallowed Out, book 7.5, comes between Steamed Open and Sealed Off
- Scared Off, book 9.5, comes between Shucked Apart and Muddled Through
- Perked Up, book 10.5, comes between Muddled Through and Hidden Beneath. (This novella has not yet been published as a standalone ebook. The story is available in the hardcover, ebook, audiobook and large print formats in the collection Irish Coffee Murder. The mass market paperback is coming December 26, 2023.)
- Hopped Along, book 11.5, comes between Hidden Beneath and Maine Clambake Mystery #12. (This novella is coming in hardcover and ebook formats in the collection Easter Basket Murder, on January 23, 2024.)
Please join me in congratulating Cate and Maddie and celebrating a big week for Wicked Authors books.
Readers: Do you think it’s fair to move the series characters’ stories forward in the novellas, or no because many people skip them?