Sunday, May 7, 2017

Magick and Mayhem: An Abracadabra Mystery

Greetings!  I am featuring the author Sharon Pape today.  She has written A Portrait of Crime Mystery series along with Alibi and Amethysts (A Crystal Shop Mystery).  I keep hoping for more books in A Crystal Shop Mystery series because I liked the first book.  I also enjoyed reading the books in A Portrait of Crime Mystery series (police sketch artist).

Magick and Mayhem by Sharon Pape is the first book in An Abracadabra Mystery series.  Kailyn Wilde has recently inherited her families magic shop called Abracadabra after the unexpected deaths of her grandmother and mother.  The two of them may be gone from the earthly plane, but they manage to pop in to chat regularly (and eavesdrop).  Kailyn still has her Aunt Tilly who runs Tea and Empathy next to Abracadabra.  Kailyn and her Aunt Tilly close their respective shops and head to a meeting with family attorney, Jim Harkens.  The office is dark when they arrive and they manage to fall over each onto the floor.  Kailyn moves to get up and notices Jim on the floor.  Upon closer inspection, she sees a pool of blood.  They turn on the lights to find that Jim has been shot in the head.   That night Kailyn performs a summoning spell for her familiar (she wants a dog).  The families magic has been on the blink the last few months and her deceased elders believe she needs her own familiar.  The next day Kailyn is in the shop when she hears glass breaking in her storeroom.  She investigates and finds an older man inside.  He claims to be Merlin (yes, Camelot’s Merlin).  Kailyn wonders if her summoning spell went awry.  Kailyn hears that Elise Harkens is a prime suspect in her husband’s death.  Kailyn knows Elise would not harm her husband, and starts doing some sleuthing.  Kailyn grew up reading Nancy Drew novels and has wanted to try her hand at solving a case.  While Aunt Tilly keeps Merlin occupied, Kailyn starts questioning her list of suspects.  Travis Anderson, local newsman, is interested in Kailyn as well as the story.  The two pair up to clear Elise and find the real killer.  Can they find the real culprit and clear Elise?

Magick and Mayhem is easy to read and has an interesting premise.  Kailyn was a good character and her Aunt Tilly was a fun eccentric.  Merlin was an unneeded addition.  I wish the author had not included him in the story because Merlin and his antics dominated the story (they had to have someone watch him, he performed magic in public, fascination with food and gadgets, etc.).  I was hoping for a talking dog instead (maybe a human trapped in dog form or a human that came back as a dog).  I wish the author had provided more background on the characters and the family.  We get some of the history, but I would have liked more details.  I also felt that the characters needed more development.  I give Magick and Mayhem 3 out of 5 stars.  Magick and Mayhem felt like a first book for this author (and it is not).  The writing did improve in the second half of the book.  The murder mystery was the best part of the book.  It was complicated (which I loved), but I wish it had been a little harder to solve. I was hoping for more magic in the story.  There is very little of it (well, Merlin did cast a few dubious spells).  I wondered why the family did not maintain a Book of Shadows (instead of spells written on random pieces of paper and stuffed in trash bags).  During the book, Kailyn digs through the bags and sorts through the items.  I was curious as to why when she located the item she was searching for, she stuffed everything back into the bags.  Why did she bother sorting them in the first place (too nitpicky?)?   Magick and Mayhem is a decent first book in An Abracadabra Mystery series.    I will be reading That Olde White Magick when it releases in November and hoping for improvement.  

Thank you for reading my latest book review.  I will be sharing my thoughts on The Final Vow by Amanda Flower on Monday. May you have a very special Sunday.  I am  relaxing and reading Silent Rain by Karin Salvalaggio.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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