By Angela M. Sanders
Published July 2022
I decided to switch gears on this Witchlit offering and jump into a witchy cozy mystery, a genre that is popping up all over the place. I enjoy them, they’re usually cute and a quick read. This one was no exception. Also no exception, this one seems to have followed the trope of a witch having no clue that she has powers until the start of the series. However, this is the third book in the Witch Way Librarian series, so not the topic of this particular storyline.
Josie Way is (you guessed it) the librarian in the tiny town of Wilfred, Oregon. The library is housed in the mansion of the town’s former owner, making it a setting I’d love to see, assuming it’s based on a real place. Josie’s magic comes from the books. They whisper to her, dance for her, and often jump off the shelves when she’s around. Her assistant Roz is a romance author and has been selected for movie star Daphne Morris’s book club selection. The actress’s arrival in town is possibly the biggest thing that’s ever happened to the inhabitants of Wilfred and everyone is abuzz with excitement. Until Daphne flirts with both Roz’s boyfriend and Josie’s crush, Sam.
But more deadly concerns come to light when Daphne’s personal chef is killed. Daphne has received death threats while in town, a stalker followed her there, and most of her staff are unhappy with her as well. There’s no end to the suspects, assuming the intended target had been Daphne. Josie adds herself to the discontented ranks when Daphne uses the murder to throw herself at Sam. With a little help from the books, Josie decides to find the murderer herself, if only to get Daphne out of town and away from her her hopeful boyfriend.
This was a really cute book. Great small town setting with quirky, memorable characters. Also not your run-of-the-mill magic system. Being the bibliophile that I am, I’ll remember this one. Seriously, I wish my books talked to me and I could summon the characters up with a quick spell. I also loved how she pulled the townspeople together to help her gather information. Even though I haven’t read the first two books in the series, the author seems to have set up a great arc both with Josie learning her magic one spell at a time as well as her romantic arc with Sam (also slow and steady). And her best friend is a (fake) psychic who doesn’t know Josie is a witch. I could see getting some distance out of that scenario.
There’s one stumbling block holding me back from rating this one higher and it might be a preference that’s peculiar to me. When I read a cozy mystery/amateur sleuth book, there HAS to be a legitimate reason for the main character to get involved in the investigation. This book didn’t give one. Josie just inserted herself and Sam, the Sheriff, just allowed her to hang around the crime scenes. Like he literally went to investigate a murder and asked her to watch his infant son. What did Josie do? Handed the baby off to someone else and scampered into the middle of the crime scene, then continued to hang out while the police were questioning everyone. While it didn’t irk me enough to stop reading, it did make it all feel too easy.
However, if you like cozy mysteries (or want some more witchlit this month), check this one out. I know at least the second book is on Kindle Unlimited if you subscribe and want to dip your toe in.
3.25 stars ⭐⭐⭐+
Until next time, thank you for visiting.