Friday, October 14, 2016

Magic Potion Mysteries

If you enjoy reading about cute witches who are on the side of the good, have loads of interesting characters in their lives, and manage to solve a crime or two along the way, then you'll enjoy this wonderful (albeit short) series of books from Heather Blake.

Book Depository has all three books, with no shipping fees!
These books were my first foray into this genre, which I didn't even know existed, and they hooked me in.  I enjoyed all the quirky characters, the mysteries that weren't completely convoluted and confusing, and I even like the cute and colorful book covers.

As usual, I listened to the audio version of these books and they're all wonderfully performed.

Here's a summary of each of the three books, straight from Heather Blake's website:

A Potion to Die For: 
As the owner of the Little Shop of Potions, a magic potion shop specializing in love potions, Carly Bell Hartwell finds her product more in demand than ever. A local soothsayer has predicted that a couple in town will soon divorce—and now it seems every married person in Hitching Post, Alabama, wants a little extra matrimonial magic to make sure they stay hitched.

But when Carly finds a dead man in her shop, clutching one of her potion bottles, she goes from most popular potion person to public enemy number one. In no time the murder investigation becomes a witch hunt—literally! 

Now Carly is going to need to brew up some serious sleuthing skills to clear her name and find the real killer—before the whole town becomes convinced her potions really are to die for!

One Potion in the Grave:

Carly Bell Hartwell’s love potions are always in demand in Hitching Post, Alabama, the wedding capital of the South.…

When Katie Sue Perrywinkle walks into the Little Shop of Potions, Carly is surprised and delighted to see her old childhood friend. Katie Sue fled her hometown and a troubled family over a decade ago. But she’s not back for a social visit. She’s come to settle a score with Senator Warren Calhoun, who is in town for his son’s high-profile wedding.

But before Katie Sue has a chance to voice any objections, she’s forced to forever hold her peace. After finding her friend dead, Carly vows to find her murderer. Were the corrupt Calhouns willing to go to any lengths to avoid a scandal? Did Katie Sue’s family take the term “bad blood” to a whole new level? And why did the bride-to-be come to Carly for a love potion? As Carly gets closer to the truth, a killer is planning a very chilly reception.…

Ghost of a Potion:
It's Halloween in Hitching Post, Alabama, and potion shop owner Carly Bell Hartwell has an especially spooky customer to handle... 

With all the ghosts that haunt her at this time of the year, Carly doesn't exactly rush to celebrate Halloween.  Even a costume ball organized by her boyfriend Dylan's mother, Patricia Davis Jackson, holds little allure.  But to please Dylan, who wants peace between the two women, Carly reluctantly agrees to go.

Gossip around town is that architect Haywood Dodd plans to make a big announcement at the party.  But before he can address the crow, he's found dead with Patricia over him, holding the murder weapon.  Anxious to clear Patricia's name and perhaps broker a truce with her, Carly would love to use her snooping skills to find the real killer.  Only she has bigger problems to deal with-ghosts are flocking to her for help, including a very persistent Haywood Dodd...

I really enjoy Heather Blake's writing.  Although these books are a series, she manages to give you all the background you need to know without being overly repetitive in each book, so you can start with any one you want.

The books are infused with just the right amount of humour and touching moment to make them thoroughly entertaining.  I think one of the things I enjoy most about the main character, Carly Bell, is that she's flawed.  She makes mistakes, she gossips, she's afraid of short, she's human.

These are fun little books that are easy to read but will still get your mind working, trying to figure otu which of the many cast of characters in zany Hitchingpost is the one who committed the latest crime.

Overall, I'd use the word 'cute' to describe this series.  The characters and the town have just enough of the stereotypical southerness about them to make you forgive their rudeness and eccentricities. 

The only thing that disappointed me is that there are only three books in the series.  I'd really like to see the story continued.  The good news is that Heather Blake has another witch series of books that currently has 7 installments, called the Wishcraft series.

These books aren't all that spooky, but there are witches, spells, and ghosts, so I think it counts~

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