Murder and an Irish Curse By Melissa Bourbon: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Sep 10, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Food Fun, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa & Melissa Bourbon

This week we have a review of Murder and an Irish Curse by Melissa Bourbon along with a fun guest post by Melissa about writing this book. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Murder and an Irish Curse: A Book Magic Mystery by Melissa Bourbon
Review by Kathleen Costa

“The truth is an open book…”
A secreted love. A disgruntled Celtic god. A two-thousand-year-old curse. An entire family tree destined for tragedy. But, Pippin and Grey Hawthorne, direct descendants of the ancient betrayal, have uncovered key pieces of information that could help them appease the one who created the curse and ultimately break its power. With a few friends, a handsome bookseller, a couple of cousins in the same predicament, and a deaf dog named Sailor, Pippin is somewhat confidant of success.

Pippin is a gifted, yet novice, bibliomancer. This ancient divination allows her to communicate with books, and not just any book, but a certain book that often finds her in unexpected ways. When she posing the question, “What do you have to tell me?,” a passage flutters off the pages offering insights, direction, and wisdom for Pippin to interpret. Now, Watership Down, curiously found on the floor, offers Pippin the encouragement she needs to tackle the dangerous, possibly futile, mission to save herself, her brother, and the rest of the Lane family.

Murder and an Irish Curse Earns 5+/5 Circling Crows…Engaging & Clever Gem!
Pippin is busy making her Sea Captain’s Inn a friendly destination, a feat the local paper was kind to highlight. So, why is local reporter, Moria O’Quinn, wanting to do another story about Pippin and the Inn? Well, she doesn’t and isn’t. She has become quite a nuisance, even insinuating Pippin may be a witch. She says she’s heard rumors of Pippin’s bibliomancy, somewhat unlikely, and knows much more than she should about the gift, which is suspicious, and Pippin is finding it difficult to maintain an evasive attitude. It gets complicated when Moira’s body is found by the pier and the idea she worked with the local paper is debunked. Who is…was she? How is she or the murder connected to the problem Pippin and her family are facing? The “problem”…will they solve it before it’s too late?

Brilliant! Melissa Bourbon has delighted me with Christmas’s trimming the tree, sharing memories, and enjoying sweater-worthy temperatures amid my triple-digit temperatures. It is valuable for continuity to read the other books since this fourth story is a climatic continuation of a journey that started with Pippin and Grey arriving in Devil’s Cove, North Carolina, turning their inheritance into a B&B, Pippin exploring her bibliomancy, both making good friends, and discovering answers to their father’s disappearance. They also slowly become engaged in the mystery of the curse that keeps both Pippin and Grey from living a full life, treasure hunters stalking them, and lots of people not who they appear. This fourth drama builds on the other books to make a complete journey, revealing the truth, and wrapping up the issues. I wholeheartedly recommend.

The events in this journey ramp up the imperative nature of breaking the curse with cousin Cora and brother Grey’s surprise announcements, so trying anything and everything is needed, maybe foolish, but definitely dangerous. Emotional drama. Misguided efforts. Intense peril. Shocking revelation. Whew! All around a fascinating read and using Irish mythology is very unique, then adding the lore of the “cursing” stones along with rings and coins and lots of books, makes for a fascinating tale. In the opening chapter Dagda and Morrighan’s story is revisited as well as expanded on to keep fans, like me, totally involved as well as offering inspiration for some more Google searches. Rich with mythology and history and a bit of spell-casting and tarot that had me intrigued, and a cast of multi-generational characters to spice the drama offered an exciting range of personalities from helpful to interfering, from sane to quirky, from open to secretive, from good to evil. I enjoyed the diverse quotes introducing insights into each chapters and the passages that cleverly direct the story. Top contender for my Best of 2022!

Bonus! I love a little treat with my cozy, and Melissa adds the best. Enjoy Book Magic Recipes with a pitcher full of Hattie’s Harvey Wallbangers and a plate full of Ruby’s Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Muffins. The perfect remedy for any “curse”!

Book Magic Mystery
Murder in Devil’s Cove (2020)
The Secret on Rum Runner’s Lane (prequel 2020) Cassie’s and Lou’s story.
Murder at Sea Captain’s Inn (2021)
Murder Through The Open Door (2022) KRL News Review HERE
Murder and an Irish Curse (2022)

Be a Big Melissa Bourbon Fan!
“Cozy. Caper. Magical. Suspense. Pick your mystery.” National bestselling author Melissa Bourbon writes several series. Whether adding a touch of magic, a budding detective, or the smell of baking bread, they’re all fun reads. My personal favorite, Book Magic mysteries, intwines a fascinating family history and links to books with a clever murder mystery. A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series spotlights a descendent of Butch Cassidy, Harlow Jane Cassidy, who gets a bit of help from beyond, the Lola Cruz Mystery follows a fledgling detective, and under her pen name Winnie Archer, the Bread Shop Mysteries bakes up a few clever conundrums for Ivy Culpepper. Delightful!

Facebook: MelissaBourbon aka Winnie Archer Books

Website: Melissa Bourbon (also writing as Winnie Archer) Sign up for the email newsletter and receive a free digital copy of The Bookish Kitchen, an exclusive cookbook with recipes from several Melissa Bourbon or Winnie Archer books!

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Favorite Book
By Melissa Bourbon

Readers fall in love with books. With characters. With settings. They have favorites and titles they revisit time and time again.

An oft asked question for writers is: “Which of your books is your favorite?”

The typical response to that question, in my experience, is something along the lines of: “The one I happen to be working on when I’m asked that question.”

I am kind of the opposite of this. I always worry about whatever book I am writing:

Is it good enough?
Will it stand up to reader expectations?
Will people love it as much as the others?
Oh my God, this is terrible!
Oh, this is good!
Okay, phew, it’s going to be okay.
I love it!

Melissa Bourbon

What I feel about the book I’m writing at any given time varies, but take your pick from one of the above and I’m sure I’ve felt it.

Except not with this book: Murder and an Irish Curse.

It’s the fourth full-length book in the Book Magic mystery series; there is a novella, and another novella coming in October. By this point in a series, another concern is how to keep it fresh.
?But not with this book. The series arc is so complicated (2000-year-old Irish Curse!), and there is so much at stake that it was easy to keep it fresh and intriguing. It was also so much fun bringing the various threads of the previous novels together into a cohesive conclusion to one of the key plots.

I loved writing this book!

And I love this series. When anyone asks me that question: Which of your books is your favorite?, I can say with complete confidence that it is my Book Magic series. That’s not to say that I don’t love the others. I do! But there is something special about the Book Magic books. The reasons for it being special are many:

The bibliomancy.
The connection to JRR Tolkien.
The way books guide Pippin, the heroine of the series.
The strong connections between friends and family.

And then there are the characters:

Pippin, who has a complicated relationship with books and who is probably mildly dyslexic.
Jamie McAdams, brainiac extraordinaire and an all around great guy.
Grey, who would do anything for his twin sister, and he’s got some great growth in this book.
Cyrus, who is so dashing and debonaire, like Christopher Plummer.
Hattie Juniper Pickle, who is eccentric and loyal and a hoot!
Plus Daisy, and Ruby, and Wenna, and Sasha, and Jamie’s girls, Heidi and Mathilda, and…and…and…even Hugh!

The setting is also so great. I love the coast, but I’m not really a sun person. So while I love the west coast beaches of my Bread Shop series, I really adore the Outer Banks setting of the Book Magic series. It’s summer and sunny, but also really quaint and accessible. It just feels different.

So, just like readers do, authors also can and do fall in love with a particular series or book. Mine is this series, the Book Magic mysteries, and this book, Murder and an Irish Curse, may be my favorite of the series.

Murder in Devil’s Cove, the first in the series, is on sale for .99 cents to celebrate this release, so grab it! Grab them all! And enjoy the binging.

Link to my webpage:

To enter to win an ebook copy of Murder and an Irish Curse AND also ONE choice of ebook or print [of the first book] Murder in Devil’s Cove, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “murder,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 17, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win and want the print copy of the first book–we will delete it after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

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. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Would love to start reading this series.

  2. I love to read about the background to books and why authors love them.

  3. Murder and an Irish Curse By Melissa Bourbon sounds like a book that needs to be added to my TBR stack.

  4. I love this series! The bibliomancy, the Irish mythology, Hattie Juniper Pickle. I just love it!

  5. Love the Irish. Sounds like a good story.
    thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  6. this sounds great thanks for the chance! amandasmother(at)aol(dot)com

  7. Bibliomancy doesn’t get a lot of play. Count me in the drawing.

  8. What a cool sounding series! Being of mostly Irish descent, this book appeals to to me.with the mythology I’d much rather read about a character trying to break a curse than experience being under one myself.

  9. We have a winner!


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