Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wicked Witches and Cozy Mysteries

Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meier
Introducing another new librarian here at Mentor Public Library-Kristin M. She will also be reviewing for us from time to time and sharing her opinions on books.

Happy October! O goody my favorite month of the year! Fall leaves, chilly weather, pumpkins, hearty soups, HALLOWEEN!! It’s such a lovely and homey time of year. Well seeing as autumn and Halloween are two of my favorite seasons/celebrations, I am all too ready to jump into fall/Halloween themed books. The superstition and magic surrounding Halloween are what always make me feel like a kid again, so this holiday, I am ready to keep the spirit alive through the books I read.
Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meier was my first seasonal read. Lucy Stone is a small town Maine newspaper reporter, mother, and small time sleuth. In this novel, Lucy must find a murderer, plan the Halloween party, and keep up with her reporting. Over the summer the town acquired a witch. Lucy first meets Diana, the Wiccan priestess, when she goes with some girlfriends to get their fortunes read. What Diana reads in the cards, Lucy blows off as mere superstition and guessing, but the cards never lie and soon, Lucy finds that Diana might have been onto something. A burnt body is found in the woods and nobody knows who the killer is, but Lucy’s neighbor, Ike, sure seems ready to blame Diana for all the trouble in town. In a time when we like to think of ourselves as civilized and above silly superstition and judgment, Lucy soon finds that the town may be on a witch hunt!
The “Lucy Stone Mysteries”, as Meier’s series is called, is classified as gentle reads or, since this is a mystery, cozy mysteries. Think of it like “Murder She Wrote”, that great ‘90s TV show with Angela Lansbury. There’s a quaint small town with an adorable downtown area, friendly neighbors, and a main character that is affable and recognizable. Hey she goes to farmers’ markets just like I do! Cozy mysteries involve some sort of a crime, an amateur crime solver, typically, and a charming location. Cozies don’t involve violence, or gore. They usually talk about home life and make you feel like warm and fuzzy.
Meier’s Wicked Witch Murder has all of the elements of a cozy mystery. Lucy is easy for the reader to sympathize with. She holds down a job while being a mother and wife. The town is cute and picturesque. The mystery propels the story along and allows for other plots to be pursued. There was enough talk about magic and Wicca to make it a fall book, but if you are looking for something more focused on autumn and Halloween, this may be a bit off. I learned a few things about the Wiccan religion, but seeing as it's autumn, I wish it were set in fall instead of from summer into fall.
All in all, the book is enjoyable for those looking for something light and easy. The mystery was not terribly intriguing or riveting, so if you are a true mystery lover, this might be too tame for you.
If you enjoy this book, another similar book also about a witch and Halloween, is Blackwork by Monica Ferris. If you like cozy mysteries, some popular authors are Rita Mae Brown, M.C. Beaton, and Joanne Fluke.
~Kristin M.

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