Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Brownies And Broomsticks - Bailey Cates

Brownies And Broomsticks
A Magical Bakery Mystery
Bailey Cates
For Katie Lightfoot, relocating to Savannah seems like a great idea after a messy breakup.  The fact that she’s a baker, and her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben are going to open the Honeybee Bakery makes it even more perfect.  Katie always felt like an outsider in her own life, and she’s about to find out why.  According to her Aunt Lucy, Katie comes from a long line of witches: Women and men who were not just practitioners, but had real power.  Lucy says that Katie’s parents made a conscious decision to raise her in a ‘normal’ life, without telling her about that part of her heritage.
Before the bakery opens, Mavis Templeton, treasurer of the local business association, appears and demands that Honeybee be made available for a business breakfast meeting.  Using an astounding combination of intimidation and threats, she gets Ben and Lucy to agree.  After all, it should be good for business.  And it all goes well, until Mavis refuses to pay the contracted price for the meeting.  She and Ben have an argument, ending only when both leave the bakery.  Ben goes into the back alley to cool off; Mavis makes her way to her car.  Moments later, she’s found in her car, with her neck broken.  A witness tells police that someone matching Ben’s description was walking away from the car at the time.  Ben is now the main suspect.
This is the first in a promising new series.  Katie does many of the silly, illogical things expected of an amateur sleuth on her first case, but manages to display intelligence and backbone throughout.  The mystery is constructed quite well, and there are some nice twists.  The victim left a trail of disgruntled people in her wake, making for a potentially lengthy list of those who would like to see her shuffle off this mortal coil.  In fact, one suspect actually celebrates.  It’s actually kind of refreshing to see that kind of real, human reaction.

Katie, too, is refreshingly honest about her situation in life.  She’s in a new place, starting a new life, and hearing about being a witch captures her imagination.  She goes through a very realistic process of trying to decide if she really believes, or just wants to believe.  The supporting cast is uniformly interesting and seem like people you might meet in your neighborhood shops.  Anyone who enjoyed the TV show “Charmed” should enjoy this novel.  If you like more than a dash of paranormal in your mystery, and you’re open to the possibility that ‘magic is all around us,’ this series looks like a very solid bet. 
Rating: 7 ½
May 2012
ISBN# 978-0-451-23663-0 (paperback)


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