Book Title: Howliday Inn
Publisher: Avon Press
Writer: James Howe
Illustrator: Lynn Musinger
Release Date: 1982
Harold and Chester learn they are headed to the kennel when the Monroes take a family trip. With Howliday Inn their temporary abode, Harold and Chester learn that all is not well at the inn. Dachshunds Howard and Heather might be werewolves. Max might be a secret agent who is having an affair with Georgette right in front of Louise. When Louise disappears, Chester suspects Max and Georgette of murder…but the deeper Harold and Chester dig into the secrets of Howliday Inn the more dangerous it could become!
Written by James Howe and featuring illustrations by Lynn Musinger, Howliday Inn was published by Avon in 1982. The book is a sequel Howe and his late wife Deborah’s 1979 book Bunnicula and the second book in the franchise.
I liked Bunnicula growing up and enjoyed reading it…Howliday Inn was less impressive. It wasn’t that it wasn’t good, but Howe tapped into horror in Bunnicula (for kids), but Howliday Inn is more of a murder mystery along the lines of Agatha Christie…something I wasn’t very interested in.
The book really does play out like classic mystery and has some allusions to something like Ten Little Indians due to the fact that the pets are slowly disappearing from Howliday Inn. It is more of a suspense thriller like Hitchcock (and even the illustration on the cover of my book had Howliday Inn resembling the Psycho house)…but it is played out for kids.
Despite being for kids, Howe does some weird stuff that isn’t necessarily typical of kids’ books. The dogs and cats of Howliday Inn have some adult issues including potentially sleeping around (at which the other dog calls the female dog “Hester Prynn”…a reference to The Scarlet Letter and something that would go over the heads of kids reading it in elementary school). Howe also lets the kids think that Chester has been killed by poison for more than a chapter which was kind of traumatic for me as a kid.
Howliday Inn is kind of a weird kids’ book in the big picture and not in the same vein as Bunnicula. Howe tries to give it a supernatural feel with the potentially werewolf dachshunds. but it seems a bit out of place here. Overall, Howliday Inn is rather forgettable, but fans of the Bunnicula series will want to pick it up (and Howe did pen Return to Howliday Inn in 1992). Howliday Inn was followed by The Celery Stalks at Midnight in 1983.