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Eye of Newt

Author: Denise Dietz
Genre: Mystery
Reviewed by Kevin R. Tipple

10080409Sydney St. Charles is the latest in along line of witches but she does not really believe that she is a witch. Living in Manitou Falls, Colorado, she owns and runs an apothecary shop with the somewhat eccentric help of her great aunt Lillian. While she doesn't believe, the tax write off for selling eye of newt among other things is pretty good as is business. She sells all sorts of spells, potions, and talismans but she has nothing to stop gossipers and those that traffic for free in gossip.

Business is good, but the trafficking in gossip is at a rare level in this small town. Clive Newton, a local boy to some, and member of the rock band "The Newts" was recently murdered. His body was found in Black Forest, an area that is residential but also zoned to allow horses. But the body wasn't entirely intact and the killer has been, every so often, mailing a body part to the surviving members of the band. No one knows why and so far the police haven't been able to find the killer/mailer.

And while that is fascinating, Sydney has much more personally important things on her mind. Her niece, Xanthia, is about to turn 13 and party plans of epic scale are underway. During her trip to the store, she makes the acquaintance of a handsome homeless man who is also an amnesiac. As she tries to control her mounting desire for him while helping him to discover who he is and his past, she nicknames him "John Elway" in honor of one of his memories.

Then a body part from Clive arrives in a package addressed to Xanthia at her party and Sydney has no choice to become involved in the search for the killer. As the same time, a journal from 1692 involving a deceased relative who lived in Salem is found in the attic. Are the links in the journal and the current case just coincidence or does the journal hold the key to a modern day killer who is becoming more and more bold?

This very enjoyable novel, scheduled to be released on October 16, 2004 by Five Star Publishing, blends two complicated mysteries with interesting characters and a strong sense of humor. Fans of the early work of Marcia Muller or Sue Grafton will delight in this heroine and her occasional irreverent attitude towards the world around her. Part romance, part mystery, and all fun, the resulting novel is often downright funny while at the same time providing a very good tale. Hopefully, this book is the start of a new series from this author.


October 28, 2004 in Mystery | Permalink


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