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by Angela M. Sanders
Kensington Books, August 2021
304 pages
ISBN: 1496728769

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In BAIT & WITCH, Angela M. Sanders's first Witch Way Librarian Mystery, Josie Way discovers she is a witch just as she starts a new job as the librarian in Wilfred, Oregon. Then, in THE SEVEN YEAR WITCH, Josie's life gets even more challenging as the community confronts murder.

Architect Lewis Cruikshank shows up to begin work on designing the Retreat Center to be built on the old mill property, which now belongs to Ruff and Sita Waters.

At the same time, Lewis appears, Sam Wilfred returns to the "Big House," the Wilfred Mansion, and moves in with his wife Fiona and new baby, son Nicky. The day Lewis and general contractor Tommy Daniels visit the old mill site, Fiona asks Josie for directions so she and her visiting colleague Brett may also visit the same general area.

That night, around midnight, Sam knocks on Josie's door – she lives in an apartment in the Victorian home that also houses the library.

He asks her to care for Nicky while he searches for Fiona, who has not come home. Regrettably, Fiona is still missing the following day, but a search party finds an art pencil Fiona uses for sketching and a bloody tire iron on mill site property. Josie inquires about Brett, wondering if Fiona left with him; when she last saw them, they were together. The acting sheriff concludes that someone is dead; they just don't yet know whom.

While the authorities investigate, Josie explores her magical powers, which could help solve the mystery. Books talk to her. She asks the books for help in understanding the history of the area and how that influences issues today.

The deputies find a man's body in the millpond at the same time Fiona approaches Josie at the library, asking where Sam is. Tommy identifies the corpse as Lewis, the architect. Ruff and Sita sense "bad, bad energy" surrounds the mill site and debate whether to drop the project. Sam recruits Josie to attend karaoke at the Sing-Along Salon so that she might do a little sleuthing around Lewis' death. Unfortunately, as Fiona performs, the lights go out, and when power returns, Fiona is dead from stab wounds. One of the powers Josie uses is her ability to merge with Rodney, her cat. Josie inhabits Rodney's body and locates the bloody knife hidden in the basement's ceiling – based on a clue the books offer. Josie/Rodney deposits the bloody knife on the floor just outside the bathroom at Sing-Along. An anonymous tip leads the sheriff to the weapon's location.

Sanders deftly weaves magic with mystery creating an unusual but delightful cozy mystery. Sanders’ storytelling skill is impressive, as is the suspenseful pace she employs. Characters are well-developed and realistic. Captivating and intriguing aptly describe the Witch Way Librarian Mysteries.

§ Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton's, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, September 2021

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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