by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Putting on the Witch. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Until one of their coven members was murdered and their spell book stolen, the three witches of Wilmington, North Carolina planned on retiring and passing on their duties to a new generation. Air witch Olivia Dunst nevertheless returned in ghost form to help Molly Renard and Elsie Langston find and train the daughter Olivia gave up at birth, only to be surprised by the appearance of Dorothy’s biological father, the infamous Drago Rasmun. Olivia is terrified that the feared renegade witch will seduce her daughter to evil, a not entirely irrational concern considering how Drago once so entranced Olivia. The Grand Council of Witches exiled him as an outsider, which makes an upcoming ball at the Fuller castle all the more perilous.
The white sheep of the Fuller family, Brian Fuller, normally never attends the birthday extravaganza thrown in his honor. His girlfriend Dorothy changes his mind, as she and her coven are dazzled at the opportunity to visit the castle owned by the patriarch who sits on the Grand Council of Witches. Held in a magic-weakening realm, Molly, Elsie, Dorothy, and a stow-a-away Olivia are dazzled by the magical sights and ostentatiousness of the Fuller estate. Molly is surprised to hear of the support of one of the council members for a change in their policies, but one doomed when Molly and her fellow witches discover Makaleigh Veazy dead.
A furious Abdon Fuller imprisons all of the guests in his castle for twenty-four hours until the culprit is found, and Molly, Elsie, and Dorothy will have more to worry about than just their magical makeovers going poof. The council releases witchfinder Antonio de Santiago to hunt down the murderer, and having spent the last five hundred years mostly sealed into a wall, this legendary bogeyman from the Spanish Inquisition has little affection for witches. So of course it is Molly who uses her experience as the wife of a homicide detective to school Antonio on modern investigative techniques and the flaws of outdated torture. As the coven friends and one ghost attempt to solve a locked-castle mystery through intense fingerprint-taking, compassionate Molly still has the very “normal” concern over her and her policeman husband’s differing retirement plans.
It is impossible to read this third in the Retired Witches Mystery series without thinking of the great loss in October 2015 of Joyce Lavene, and then in May 2016 of Jim Lavene. It is with bittersweet joy one reads this continually evolving blend of fantasy and mystery. The plot is ingeniously clever with its mix of magical lore and practical detecting, and at its core are the heartwarming friendships. Their love for one another carries them through the tribulations of Elsie dating a werewolf, protecting Molly’s husband from the council, and Dorothy being torn between the two new men in her life. Olivia’s not above using dramatics to guilt them into taking her along, and while she regrets not having raised her daughter Olivia grows more comfortable with her abilities as a ghost. Molly’s second-hand investigative experience and her inherent compassion lead this charming series, but the good-natured banter and affection between the coven make this a loving tribute to the Lavene writing duo.
To enter to win a copy of Putting on the Witch, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “witch,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 5, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
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.