Halloween is a time of trickery, but there is just a little too much of the wrong things to really embrace Trick Me, Treat Me. For those who are less worried about a somewhat sensible story, this might be on your agenda for holiday reading.
Gwen Compton is a generally sensible intelligent woman who has had times in her life where she was reckless and filled with the joy of risk-taking (or so her Aunt Hildy likes to remind her.) Gwen has just opened a bed and breakfast with this slightly wacky aunt in the restored home of a gangster. It is Halloween weekend, and things just seemed to work out the way they should. How better to spend the weekend but in a house that all the locals used to think was haunted.
Hildy, it seems, used to know these 1920’s gangsters. One of them, Mr. Marsden, lived in the house once he returned from serving his prison sentence. He used to scare all the youngsters and everyone was convinced the place was haunted. Mr. Marsden died a few years ago. Real estate agent Mick Winchester decided to have a Halloween party last year at the house, only to discover that the house had been willed to Hildy.
One of the people he invited was his cousin Jared. Jared is a retired cop who is now a best selling author. He writes non-fiction about real life unsolved crimes. His most recent research took him to Russia for the last year. Upon his return he finds an invitation to Mick’s party – a mystery party where each guest is in costume. (Unbeknownst to Jared, his housekeeper messed up his mail and this one is actually a year old). So Jared heads back to his small hometown to participate in Mick’s party.
Jared arrives late and enters in character, a spy named Miles Stone. He sneaks into the kitchen and discovers a lovely miss in her nightgown in the darkened room. This young woman is Gwen.
Gwen assumes he is one of the guests that Aunt Hildy checked in, and Jared assumes Gwen is one of the mystery party members. When Gwen says she is an innkeeper, Jared tells her he is a spy. The two are instantly and hotly attracted. When they kiss, Jared is knocked in the head by a surprised Aunt Hildy, who thinks he is an intruder. He wakes up to discover he has amnesia.
So what didn’t really work for me, you might ask? Gwen falls for his story. She is supposed to be an intelligent woman, yet buys his tale of spies and gun sellers and other silliness. Then the whole amnesia thing just seems too impractical. Yes, it gives the two a chance to fall in love, but plausibility is lacking.
The other element that just puts it over the top is the ghosts running around the house, matchmaking first, and then clearing up the mystery of Hildy’s life. First, Hildy talks to them. Then one of them changes the room names so that Jared enters Gwen’s room and they end up in bed together. (Jared thinks Gwen was waiting for him in his bed and Gwen thinks he came to her, allowing neither to think they were taking the initiative.) Finally, the ghost comes to them in “human form” to help clear up the past so they can embrace the future.
I think the author’s intent was to be lighthearted and throw in a touch of the supernatural as a lark. But the entire story seemed absurd, so ghosts flying around were a touch too much.
Trick Me, Treat Me is definitely a holiday story full of a mixture of nuts and other yummy (sexy) things, but I hope for other types of delights in my Halloween bag.