Halloween Blogfest: Neil Plakcy

I have many great fall memories from growing up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania – halfway between Philadelphia and New York. The gorgeous autumn leaves, cider and candy apples from Styer’s farm market, the Harvest Days festival at the Yardley Friends Meeting, and many more. Now that I live in South Florida, a place without clearly defined seasons, I miss those cues that seasons are changing.

Golden RetrieverFortunately, I’ve been able to incorporate those memories into my golden retriever mysteries, set in the fictional town of Stewart’s Crossing, just a mile or two upriver from Yardley. Dog Bless You, the fourth in the series, begins at a fall festival much like Harvest Days, on the grounds of the meeting house property. Of course, I don’t know that there’s ever been a body discovered behind a false wall at the real meeting house!

Up north, we began school a day or two after Labor Day, and the warmest days of summer were already behind us, though we might get a bit of Indian Summer in September or October. The air would begin to cool down, first at dawn and dusk, then throughout the day. Big knobby osage oranges littered the sides of the road where I walked home from the school bus. The tall maple behind our house, at the edge of Silver Lake, would begin to turn red, gold and orange, and then the leaves would fall all over our back yard.

For my family, autumn centered around the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and I relished the chance to have a day off from school when the rest of my neighborhood didn’t, even though it meant I had to spend an hour or two at the children’s service at Har Sinai Temple in Trenton, right across the Delaware River from us.

My neighborhood was full of kids about my age, so there was a whole lot of trick-or-treating going on come Halloween, and I remember carrying those small Unicef boxes around as well as collecting as much candy as I could. Halloween was an interesting holiday because I spoke, sometimes for the only time during the year, to certain neighbors. As long as they had their lights on, maybe a decoration or two, I’d go up and ring their bell.

The last year I went out I was already a teenager, and I threw a gray flokati rug over my head and went as the Abominable Snowman. I only went to my friends’ houses, though.

I haven’t written yet about Halloween in Stewart’s Crossing, but I might. And I’m sure I’ll enjoy dredging up more details from those long-ago days to entertain readers who are looking for a quirky mystery in a small town setting, with lots of nostalgia for times gone by.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Dog Bless You.

Neil. S. Plakcy


Buy the book at Amazon


  1. Dog Bless You. What a great title. Every book needs a dog.

  2. Cute cover

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  3. I remember those Unicef boxes! Side note: My golden retriever thanks you for the book 😀

    mnark111 AT gmail DOT com

  4. Guess what? All three of you win! I’ll email the two directly that I have addresses for; Patty Campbell please email me the format you prefer at plax at bellsouth dot net.

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