Friday, October 5, 2007

Hex Marks the Spot-Madelyn Alt

Hex Marks the Spot
Madelyn Alt
Berkley, Dec 2007, $6.99, 256 pp.
ISBN 9780425218709

Six months ago Maggie O’Neil saw the world as everyone else does. Magic with a brush of the supernatural opened a path turning her into a sensitive empath. Her boss Felicity Dow, owner of Enchantments, encourages Maggie to open herself up to the magick around her. She is a practicing Wiccan who like Maggie sees ghosts and other entities that most people are blind to. Although Maggie tries to close herself off from the supernatural, it keeps leaking into her psyche and like other sensitives in the area she feels a miasma around the town.

At a craft bazaar Maggie meets Amish craftsman Luc Metzger, who looks like a Greek god; he created the carvings on a dresser that Felicity wanted but went to Louise. Shortly after that, Luc was murdered and Louise agrees to sell the dresser to Felicity. In the small town of Stony Mill with little crime, that makes three murders in six months. It is a hex sign that gives Maggie a clue to the identity of the murderer and what she sees impresses on her that there is real magick in the world.

HEX MARKS THE SPOT centers the tale on Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs that are used to ward off evil and create a happy atmosphere. The heroine is a special person who though she would like to avoid it, comes to believe in magick because of what she sees and experience. The who-done-it is cleverly constructed and readers will never guess who the killer is or what the motive is for bludgeoning someone to death. Madelyn Alt writes an entertaining mystery.

Harriet Klausner

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