Stuff of Nightmares

Dressed Up for Murder

Submitter: This is from our New Reader collection.   It was published in 1986. The creepy chipmunk gives me the heebie-jeebies!

Holly:Ha ha ha!!  Oh, man, this one cracks me up.  Here’s the summary from WorldCat: “The rides are old and run-down at the Fun World Amusement Park, the food is bad, and the Chipmunk act is in trouble. Someone wants the Chipmunk dead.”  No wonder he looks so sad, even if his mouth is perpetually smiling.  At first, I assumed the chipmunk was the killer: some creepy guy dressed as a chipmunk, going around axing people.  That wasn’t fair – chipmunks are the brightest people!  Oh, wait, that was raccoons.  Never mind.


  1. What’s the intended audience? My young daughter would probably pick this book based on the cover—surprise!! Nightmare time.

  2. I would pay big bucks to own this book. Amazing! And yes, I think it’s obvious that the chipmunk is actually the murderer.

  3. This cover is awesome!! I love the combination of the title and the photo. We don’t even need a book–just make a poster out of the cover.

  4. What is the victimology for a chipmunk character actor? “Typically, a chipmunk impersonator is a pleasant, timid person who needs to hide behind a mask to express his true self”? And what kind of demented person would be driven to kill him?!

  5. Yeah, I also thought the chipmunk (is that really what he’s supposed to be?) was the murderer. In fact, I thought it was a non-fiction book warning kids about bad guys dressed up as characters, who would turn out to be murderers. What a misleading cover/title! Time to [up]chuck this book.

  6. I’d just like to say that when I saw this as a thumbnail in my Blogger update, I thought at first that was a horse’s head. Which, with all the mafia stereotypes, would make more sense story wise then someone trying to kill some poor shmoe getting minimum wage in a hot, smelly costume.

  7. I just keep thinking of that recent raccoon book, with the guy on the cover helping the raccoons to slooowwwly advance towards you… except this time it’s a depressed, homicidal chipmunk!!!

  8. I ILL’ed this, along with two other books in the series of ten. They’re short mystery stories — like what you would read in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine — but with reading comprehension questions at the end.

    The book itself is more of a booklet (about 5.5 by 4.5 inches) which seems to suggest that the series is aimed at kids; it’s published by a division of Simon & Schuster Supplementary Education group. However, the actual content involves some uh, adult themes: murder as revenge for adultery figured prominently in two of the three books.

    I suppose you would expect as much from this note on the back cover: “The Fastback (R) Crime and Detection series was developed by members of the Southern California chapter of the Mystery Writers of America.” But still…. very odd.

  9. The author is a pretty well known horror writer. His most famous books are the Howling series of books. It might be one to hold onto. There are four copies from other sellers on Amazon, ranging in price from $67.50 to $151.36.

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