A Witch Before Dying
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: Aug 7, 2012
Retail Price: 7.99
When Darcy is hired by Elodie Keaton to clean up her missing mother’s disorderly home, the Wishcrafter is certainly up for the task. After all, the motto of her Aunt Ve’s personal concierge service As You Wish is “No Job Impossible.” But beneath the piles of old newspapers and knickknacks, Darcy discovers something much more disturbing: Patrice Keaton’s body.
Darcy’s determined to give Elodie peace of mind by investigating her mother’s disappearance and death. Patrice was last seen over a year ago after a fight with her Charmcrafter boyfriend. Was her murder a crime of passion? Or were Patrice’s troubles caused by the Anicula, a wish-granting amulet? Now Darcy has to find not only a killer but also the Anicula— before the power of ultimate wish fulfillment falls into the wrong hands…
Series: A Witchcraft Mystery (Book 2)
For fans of: Madelyn Alt, Melissa Bourbon
Life is good for Darcy Merriweather. She’s settling into life in the Enchanted Village – a quaint, magic-themed neighborhood of Salem, Massachusetts where the tourist trade allows witches and wizards to hide in plain sight. She’s becoming more skilled in the art of Wishcraft (a special branch of witchcraft that runs in her family and that allows her to grant other people’s wishes). And it seems her relationship with hunky town police chief Nick Sawyer is finally starting to heat up.
Then, however, she agrees to help Elodie Keaton clean out her missing mother Patrice’s house, and her happy little existence is thrown into chaos. Darcy was prepared for the fact that Patrice was a bit of a hoarder, but she certainly wasn’t prepared to find her mummified body hidden in a suitcase under piles of the woman’s belongings. In a moment of weakness, Darcy agrees to help Elodie uncover the truth about her mother’s death, but the deeper Darcy digs, the more complicated the mystery gets. Love triangles, curses, stolen magical amulets – and through it all, Darcy can’t seem to shake the feeling that she’s being watched. Can Darcy solve Patrice’s murder and give Elodie some much-needed closure, or is she destined to become the Village’s newest missing person?
A Witch Before Dying is the second of Heather Blake’s Wishcraft Mysteries. It’s equal parts mystery and fairy tale, and it’s practically impossible to put down. The series premise is nicely reasoned and neatly executed. The book has an incredibly strong sense of place; Blake’s Enchanted Village is a well thought-out, fully realized world full of magic, charm, and whimsy. Blake’s narrative style is friendly and engaging, and her prose has great flow. The story is finely plotted and expertly paced with nary a missed beat or off-note. And the mystery is intriguing, engrossing, cleverly constructed. Blake weaves a perfectly tangled web – one with precisely the right number of threads, and just complicated enough to keep the reader guessing, but not so complicated as to confuse or consternate.
Blake’s characters are marvelous to a one – charismatic, vibrant, and fully three-dimensional. Darcy’s a pitch-perfect heroine; stubborn, brave, and compassionate to a fault, it’s a pleasure to spend a book inside her head. Darcy’s Aunt Ve provides wisdom, heart, and no small measure of hilarity to Blake’s tale. Newly minted police chief Nick makes for a great friend and love interest. And while I’m not usually one for talking animals in my fiction, familiars Archie, the movie-quoting parrot, and Pepe, the master tailor mouse, manage to steal each and every scene in which they appear, and are at once utterly adorable and not at all precious or over-the-top.
A Witch Before Dying by Heather Blake is quite simply a fantastic read from cover to cover. It’s a magical tale, but it’s also a very human one, and it’s a perfect companion for the lazy, magical, seemingly endless days of summer.
Reviewed by Kat N.
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