The Curse of Braeburn Castle: A Haunted Scottish Castle Murder Mystery

This puzzle mystery (324 pages) was published in August of 2019 by Independent. The book takes you to a Scottish castle on Halloween. Melissa read The Curse of Braeburn Castle and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

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The Curse of Braeburn Castle

Karen Baugh Menuhin

This cozy murder mystery is a quadruple whammy of the notion of strong sense of place. It’s set in 1921 on Halloween. In Scotland. At a manor house. On an island. That seems like enough motivation to pick it up. But read on for more.

On a rock in a Scottish loch sits Braeburn Castle, a hulking pile that’s been crumbling for centuries. During renovations, a skeleton — sporting a bejeweled crown — is found behind a wall. Soon a group of archaeologists, intent on making their names (and their fortunes) with this mysterious discovery, has taken up residence in the castle tower,

Our hero Major Heathcliff Lenox — our narrator, ex-WWI pilot, tall, handsome, and 30-something — is called to the scene to help solve the mystery of the bones and the jewels — and, perhaps, steal the heart of the lovely lady archaeologist in the process.

It’s not long before someone is found dead at the base of a castle tower. Did he jump, or was he pushed?

As you’d expect with a mystery inspired by the Golden Age of crime, there are multiple murders and suspects aplenty. In addition to the possibility of a dark curse — courtesy of the legendary Black Dougal — the story also includes long-held family secrets, a condescending Laird, a séance, Halloween festivities, a raging storm, and a dog (Mr. Fogg) and his cat (Mr. Tubbs) who almost steal the show. Plus, biscuits and tea.

This is a whole lot of fun with zero scares, a suspenseful and entertaining holiday read for people who prefer Halloween treats to tricks and scares.

I remained in the peaceful silence, listening to the seabirds returning home with quiet calls across the water; then, as the chill set in and a thin drizzle began to fall, I rose to make my way back to the castle in search of a snifter and dinner. I had no sooner stepped onto the beach when an awful sound, like a bone-crunching thump, rang out. I looked up ahead, trying to peer into the dusk. Fogg and I raced up through the trees toward the castle walls set high upon the crags, then stopped. Sprawled across jagged black rocks lay a body, spreadeagled and bloody, and very, very dead. — Karen Baugh Menuhin

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In this episode, we revel in that delicious tingle up the back of the neck, courtesy of the undead, that reminds us we're alive. Plus, candy, bonfires, costumes, and books. SO MANY BOOKS that celebrate Halloween.

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