Middle-aged bookstore owner Willa Chance is looking forward to the opportunity of appraising a valuable private library that hasn't seen the light of day for 50 years...until she finds a dead body in the backyard and the ghost of the home's previous owner anxiously waiting for her inside.
Hampered by the persistent ghost who insists on keeping secrets from her, Willa navigates a sea of confusing clues as she struggles to uncover the connection between the recent murder and two murders 50 years ago. Is the answer contained in the secret she found in the library? Or the unusual bequest left by the long-dead owner of the house? Or maybe it has something to do with the mysterious journal that everyone seems to be after.
Once again, Willa's cat, Pandora, has to help her figure out the clues while she and the other cats of Mystic Notch try to keep vital mystical knowledge from getting into the wrong hands. Can Willa discover the identity of the killer in time, or will she end up being the fourth victim?
©2014 Leighann Dobbs (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
The good things; this series has so much potential. I love the concept of the little town in the New Hampshire mountains. I love the addition of the magical aspect, and all the questions that are apparently going to be gradually revealed about the underlying magic in the town and it's inhabitants. I love the book store, the tea shop, all the old Victorian houses. I love the cats that talk and have a magical mission of their own (though I could do without Otis. Why do authors of cozies seem to believe we always need a jerk in the mix?). I love Pepper, the vintage queen and magical tea shop owner. I like the romantic aspect, which is an important component of a cozy to me, and I also like the fact that it wasn't continually pushing it's way into the main story like it did in book one.
The reader is also very good and easy to listen to.
The irritating things; The main character Willa. She seemed better than she was in the first book when book two started, but once we really get into the mystery she becomes almost as annoying as she was in book one. She is so stupid. She claims to have been a top notch crime reporter earlier in her life, but this is impossible for me to believe. She forms a theory about who the murderer is because reasons (pointlessly stupid reasons, I might add). She doesn't check any facts or look at things rationally, she just decides who the murderer "must" be and then ignores everything else. Once it turns out that person isn't the murderer, she learns nothing, randomly fixes on someone else, and does the same thing with that person. It is stunningly clear to the reader who the murderer must be as there are plenty of clues, but Willa ignores them all. The only real mystery here is who Ranger (the homeless dog) is going to end up living with by the end of the book.
Willa is also rigid, closed minded, and judgmental. She does no research on anything, and at age 48 seems to know very little about the world. She's not quite as bad as she was in book one, but she's still by far the most pointless and irritating character in the book.
I wish Pepper was the heroine. This series would be a lot better that way.
In summary, this a quick light read that's easy to listen to while you are doing other things as it's pretty repetitive and if you missed something it will probably come up again. You just have to be willing to put up with an incompetent main character.
This was an enjoyable book. The mystery was well plotted and detailed. The characters were well developed and engaging. The subplot with the animals add a little magic to the story. The lead character, Willa, isn't always very bright. There were times when I thought she overlooked blatant clues. However, if she caught on to all of the clues the story would be over too soon. I already bought the next book and look forward to listening to it.
I really enjoy the Mystic Notch books, but the narrator's voices for the male characters ruined my enjoyment of this story. Her female voices were good, but her male voices all sounded like New York cab drivers with smoker's lung.
As both a cat and a dog lover, I really enjoyed this book and series. A light, entertaining listen that leaves you feeling happy.
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