A Brushstroke with Death By Bethany Blake: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Jan 11, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy
& Bethany Blake

This week we have a review of the first in a new series by Bethany Blake, along with a fun guest post by Bethany. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of A Brushstroke with Death. We also have a link to purchase it from Barnes and Noble-this book is a Barnes and Noble exclusive.

A Brushstroke with Death: An Owl and Crescent Mystery by Bethany Blake
Review by Sandra Murphy

Willow Bellamy is an artist. She’s also a witch with the ability to enter an artist’s soul via a painting or sculpture. With her friends, Astrid and Pepper, they form a small, informal coven. Willow hosts paint and sip parties—she sets up the still life, easels, and supplies the paints. There are snacks and drinks.

Hosting a painting party for the Small Business group means including Evangeline Fletcher, the town grouch. She’s suspected of leaving fake reviews of other restaurants, panning them, and for her own Silver Spoons, saying it’s a wonderful experience. She’s complained about an owl that lives in Willow’s barn, a pig Willow rescued, as well as her cat and anything else she can think of.

The night of the Small Business event, Evangeline goes missing. Hours later, her body’s found by Willow and Derek, Evangeline’s nephew and Willow’s former boyfriend, just returned from Africa. Considering Evangeline’s disposition, the suspects are many—Derek, who might inherit, Willow, Linh, and Myrna, business owners, Benedict, her tenant.

New in town is the delectable Detective Turner, who Willow knows she hasn’t met before but feels as if she knows him. He’s not at all surprised when she admits she’s a witch. When a second body turns up and Willow receives threats, the truth is close, but will she find it in time?

Willow is willing to take a risk but is willing to let others know where and when, just in case. Astrid is a kooky friend, dependable, funny, and full of quirks. Pepper is more elegant by comparison. Derek is interested in renewing their romance, and Detective Turner is certainly interested as well. While flattered, Willow wants to solve the murder before making any decisions on the personal level. Willow is well-liked in town, and her ability to ask probing questions without causing offense comes in handy while searching for a killer.

This is the first in a new series, a spinoff of the Lucky Paws mysteries that feature Socrates the Basset Hound and Daphne, his person who pet sits and bakes dog treats. They make cameo appearance in this book—and as always, I want more Socrates. Luckily, Of Mutts and Murder at a chili cook-off will be out in April 2020, available for Kindle and audio pre-order, paperback coming soon.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. A Murder of Crows, edited by Sandra Murphy (a popular title so you need her name to search), has twenty-one cozy stories. Each features the collective name of an animal and a crime. The animals range from tarantulas, koalas, wolves, bears, jellyfish, toads, cats, dogs, alpaca, goats, penguins and more. No animals were harmed. The people weren’t so lucky. Available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Tarot New Year!
By Bethany Blake

On the first day of this new decade, I finally succumbed to an old friend’s longstanding request to read my tarot cards.

I didn’t put this off in the past because I was scared of what the future might hold or because I think there’s something sinister about fortune telling. I just have a healthy skepticism about astrology, crystal balls, tea leaves, and the meaning of things like lines on palms.

Bethany Blake

Imagine my surprise when I picked ten random cards, my friend set them out in a grid—and basically told me everything that’s secretly been happening in my life for the past several years.

Crazy, right?

I don’t know if she made me a believer. But I am more open minded now. And I guess I’ve always been interested in the paranormal to some degree. I definitely lived with a ghost at one point. And I often write about things outside the norm—like in my new cozy mystery, A Brushstroke with Death, which is about an aspiring, if sometimes bumbling, witch who can see unusual things when she casts a spell and rests her hands on a person’s art work.

There’s a spell book, a crystal ball, a bit of hocus pocus—and a murder, of course. Not to mention a mysterious, handsome detective who might not be quite who he claims to be.

I suppose I’ll always be a bit of a skeptic, but I had a lot of fun creating a magical new world, full of all sorts of mysteries.

And as for my tarot reading—it mainly served to call my attention to the fact that I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by an abundance of people who care about me right now. In fact, cards that symbolize love and affection made up the bulk of my reading. So, I’m heading into this year grateful for family, friends, and the best, truest magic of all—having lots of love in my life. I hope you have a magical, happy new year, too!

To enter to win a copy of A Brushstroke with Death, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “brushstroke,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 18, 2020 U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. We delete all emails after the contest is over.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors.

This book is a Barnes and Noble exclusive you can purchase it here.

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her three daughters, a sweet Pitbull and a slightly diabolical, but very lovable, cat named Potpie. When she’s not writing, she’s running, driving kids places and daydreaming about her next book. You can learn more on her website.


  1. I love finding new series, and this sounds right up my alley. My catnip is paranormal cozies, especially ones with witches!!!

  2. Love the cover and the storyline! I’d be thrilled to win a copy. Thank you for the chance.

  3. Captivating and wonderful book. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for the opportunity

  5. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  6. I’m loving the description of this series. I can’t wait to read it.

  7. Would love to win this.

  8. Thank you for the insight into Brushstroke with Death by Bethany Blake. I’m not familiar with her books so it would be wonderful to be picked.

  9. New author and series to me. Would really enjoy reading.

  10. Sounds like a great read. Look forward to reading it.

  11. Yes please… I love witchy stories and have a whole bookcase full of them by many wonderful authors..

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

  12. Great contest I would love to win the book…thank you.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  13. We have a winner!

  14. Sounds interesting and intriguing. Thank you for the chance


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