Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Witch Before Dying-Heather Blake

A Witch Before Dying

Heather Blake

Obsidian, Aug 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451237637

Infamously known for their witch trials, Salem, Massachusetts contains a tourist attraction Enchanted Village in which practitioners of the Craft (witches) can practice their skills without mortals knowing it. If a witch tells a mortal what she is, she loses her Crafty power. Visitors enjoy seeing “magic” performed but assume it is illusions by magicians as everyone knows there is no such thing as magic.

Sisters Darcy and Harper Merriweather relocated here from Ohio after their Aunt Velma told them they were witches. Working for her aunt’s concierge services As You Wish where “No Job Impossible”, Darcy the wishcrafter can make wishes come true. Elodie Keaton hires Darcy to clean up the house of her hoarder mother Patricia who vanished a year ago. Darcy stumbles over a pile that collapses against a suitcase, which opens. Inside is the mummified body of Patricia. Everyone assumes the motive for the murder was to obtain Patricia’s possession the Anicula Stone, which grants wishes to whoever holds it as long as that wish is not evil. Petty break-ins with nothing stolen follow, which leads Darcy to believe someone is searching for the stone. She starts to investigate and almost gets killed by someone who believes she has the Anicula Stone.

Readers will enjoy visiting Enchanted Village, which lives up to its name as a sort bewitching tourist attraction (think Disneyland) as familiars like Pedro the mouse and Archie the bird soar freely. Although most of the residents use their otherworldly skills for good, a few practice evil dark magic. Having met personally the t village police led by her boyfriend, a caring Darcy feels compelled to help investigate as part of the “No Job Impossible” mantra. Though the usual elements of an amateur sleuth urban fantasy occur in the second A Wishcraft Mystery (see It Takes a Witch), fans will enjoy this entertaining paranormal whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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