Sunday, July 19, 2009

Where There's A Witch - Madelyn Alt

Where There’s A Witch
A Bewitching Mystery
Madelyn Alt
Berkley Prime Crime


Maggie O’Neill is starting to get comfortable with the fact that she’s a natural-born empathy. She can sense emotions, even memories of emotions in an empty space. It explains a lot about her childhood, but, having been born and raised in a small town in Indiana, she’d never given much thought to the supernatural until Felicity Dow – a real witch – hired her to clerk at her shop, Enchantments.

The summer has been exceptionally hot and tempers are flaring all over town. When Evie and Tara, the two teenaged clerks, suggest going to the Baptist church fundraiser, Maggie’s confused. Until she realizes that Tara’s erstwhile boyfriend will be on the construction crew scheduled to break ground as part of the festivities. The fundraiser is going fairly well, despite a few heat-related arguments, until Tara spots a long line to sign a petition in favor of ousting all the “dark forces” and “Satan’s followers” in town. Obviously, news of Felicity’s group’s activities (including Maggie and the girls) has made the rounds, and the small town churchgoers are none too pleased.

But there’s more to worry about at this party. During the groundbreaking, the equipment hits a buried room. It might have been some kind of bomb shelter, but why would someone cover it over and then put crosses all over the walls and ceiling? When the cover is broken, Maggie clearly feels… something… gust past her. It happened so fast, she almost missed it, but it was there. Then a woman is found dead on church grounds. Maggie saw the woman arguing with Ty, one of the construction workers, earlier in the day. But, somehow, Maggie believes there’s something more going on around her little town.

It’s nice to see Maggie getting more comfortable with her talent and her activities. She’s involved in a sort-of love triangle that most authors seem to feel the need to insert into any mystery series, but functions mostly as a distraction to the main events. What’s most interesting is the mystery of the room, and, of course, the death of the woman. As is usually the case, it takes more than one of the group to suss out the answer, and the fun is in watching them work together to find solutions. Mystery readers who enjoy more than a touch of the supernatural will find much to love in this series. (see also: A CHARMED DEATH and HEX MARKS THE SPOT)

Rating: 7 ½
July 2009
ISBN# 978-0-425-22871-5 (paperback)


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