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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

A Potion to Die For (Magic Potion Mystery #1)

A Potion to Die For - Heather Blake

Heather Webber/Blake is one of those authors who not only write multiple series (this is the beginning of her third current one) but writes them all really well.  I'm certain she's not in a small group in this regard, but she is one of the few authors I trust enough to just blindly pick up their new series based on my enjoyment of her past ones.

 

A Potion to Die For introduces us to a new cast of characters in Hitching Post, Alabama.  It's a fictional town but it sure sounds like a beautiful setting for crazy.  A small town known for it's quickie weddings (and quickie divorces) and incredibly eccentric characters, including a weather forecaster that occasionally throws in premonitions pertaining to relationships ("Sunny with a chance of divorce").  Ms. Blake loves to surround her MC with crazy, so if you like quirky and eccentric characters, this book will surely tick that box.

 

Carly Bell appears to be just about the only sane one in her family.  She's a witch and runs a potion shop in Hitching Post.  As the oldest of her generation, she inherited the family house (falling down), grimoire and the "magic drops" that ensure the potency of her potions.  These drops are the result of the tragic deaths of her great-great-(maybe one more great) grandparents.  G-g-g-grandma was a white witch and grandpa was a dark Voodoo practitioner.  In present time, Carly chooses to follow the path of her grandmother and practice white witchcraft.  But she has a cousin, Delia, that chooses to follow the Voodoo path and runs a shop across town that specialises in hexes.  Family history results in these two being estranged, but as the book progresses the two find themselves having to deal with each other. I really liked the dynamic between Carly and Delia, and I love the very deliberate division of light and dark between the two relatives.

 

There's a cast of odd-duck parents, aunts, neighbours and best friends, but the only other major character in this book is Dylan Jackson, the chief investigator for Hitching Post.  He's Carly's ex, but under sort of funny yet sad, circumstances.  He's obviously going to be the love interest here and I like him a lot.

 

The murder mystery in the book was done very well.  A dead body holding incriminating evidence found in an incriminating place.  Nothing was obvious, although it occurs to me that because this is the first book, and we're being introduced to a whole cast of characters, any obvious suspects would be hidden in plain sight.  Either way, I never had a firm grasp on who the killer was and I found the ending delightfully twisty, with a nicely unexpected ending.

 

Ms. Blake's books all have a delightfully innocent air about them - characters are for the most part happy, optimistic and with an air of innocence you don't often find in books today. I struggled a bit with it at first, but decided after the second book of her Wishcraft series to just go with it and enjoy it - I don't actually require angsty characters to enjoy a book or series and I do love me some crazy.  This book wasn't an exception.  I found Hitching Post to be a really entertaining place to visit and I'm looking forward to finding out what's up for them in the future.