A Brushstroke with Death
An Owl and Crescent Mystery, Book #1
By Bethany Blake
Author Website: bethanyblakeauthor(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Near the creek that runs behind her Pennsylvania house, Willow Bellamy has converted an old barn into an art school—though the place does still have some animal inhabitants, including Rembrandt, the owl who lives up in the rafters. And while it’s important for any artist to have a vision, Willow can sometimes see things others can’t, just like her mother and grandmother before her. Not that she would exactly call herself a witch . . .
When some local merchants gather in the studio for a painting party, they focus their attention on a still life with flowers and an assortment of garden tools, including antique pruning shears that soon disappear—at the same time despised restaurant owner Evangeline Fletcher is murdered. Willow must use all her gifts to find the killer, although it means teaming up with a handsome, mysterious detective whom Willow fears she may have accidentally conjured from a canvas. This investigation is sure to be a hoot . (Goodreads)
I really enjoyed this series debut, A Brushstroke with Death. With a nice cozy setting, interesting characters, and enough supernatural elements to keep it unconventional, it is an entertaining page turner.
Willow does not necessarily call herself a witch, but she comes from a long line of not so talented witches. Her inherited spell book has more Jell-O salad recipes and failed spells than it does successes. That said, Willow is a talented artist and can read people through their art. When her unpleasant neighbor Evangeline is found stabbed after a painting party, Willow puts her skills to the test to clear her own name and find the real killer with, or without, mysterious detective Lucian Taylor.
I like Willow. She is relatable and curious without being a busybody or pushy. I absolutely adore her animals – familiar owl Rembrandt, pig Mortimer, and cat Luna. They bring so much color to the tale. The members of her coven are very different from each other which really comes into play as the story progresses. There is obviously some sort of supernatural connection between Willow and Lucian, and the truth of his character is slowly revealed. I look forward to seeing how things develop there. Other supporting characters are equally varied and engaging.
The mystery of Evangeline’s death is complex with plenty of suspects to weed through and clues to rut out. Each clue and red herring left me second guessing the killer’s identity and motive right up to the surprising climax. Oh, the betrayal!
A Brushstroke with Death is a breath of fresh air in the world of paranormal cozy mysteries. I cannot wait for the next installment to be released.