I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
How do I really describe the Aunt Dimity books? They are marketed as paranormal mysteries, but these aren't murder mysteries (there might be one dead body in 19 books); there's always a "mystery" to be solved, but they are rarely of the criminal sort. These books are the cosiest of the cozies.
Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well kicks off at the funeral of a Finch resident; it's a packed house, but not because he was so well known and loved and not because he was such an active participant in the Finch community. The funeral is packed because he was the man nobody knew. Often seen about the small English village, but never welcoming of personal interaction, Hector's death and the arrival of his Australian nephew has left the small village agog and desperate for the gossip. Our MC, Lori, befriends the Aussie nephew, Jack and to paraphrase from the book summary:
Lori volunteers to help Jack clear out his uncle’s overgrown garden, and they discover an old wishing well. After Lori laughingly makes a wish, she is baffled to find that the wish seems to have come true. Word spreads, and the villagers turn out to make wishes of their own. But as they soon learn, one person’s wish is another person’s worst nightmare and the village is thrown into chaos. As more and more wishes come true, Lori resolves to find out what’s really going on.
Aunt Dimity is the paranormal element here, acting as guide and advisor to Lori, through a journal that allows the two to communicate.
I've had a bit of a love/want-to-smack relationship with Lori over the series. She's mostly likeable and competent but she occasionally devolves into irrational and immature. Fortunately it happens less often with each book and almost not at all here. Lori is surrounded by a very colourful cast of characters both at home and throughout the village and they help even out those moments when Lori isn't at her best.
Finding the truth behind the mysterious wishing well was interesting enough to keep me invested and connected to the story. Vivid writing made it all the more enjoyable to spend time in Finch watching people learn it's best to be careful what you wish for.
This book, and this series as a whole is - there's no other word for it - delightful. Morality plays with happy endings for all, they are best read in front of a fire with a cup of steaming tea/coffee/cocoa and if possible, your favourite small stuffed animal nearby. However, I found myself on the couch under a blanket with iced tea and my cat curled up on my lap and that worked just as well. ;)