Gone with the Witch
A Wishcraft Mystery, Book #6
By Heather Blake
Author’s Website: Heatherblakebooks.com
Darcy and her dog Missy are determined to put their best foot forward at the Enchanted Village’s annual Pawsitively Enchanted pet contest. She’s happy to lend a hand when the show’s organizer hires Darcy to keep an eye on things among growing suspicions that someone is sabotaging the event. But Darcy’s quest for justice is thrown off the scent when her lead suspect is found dead at the competition.
As if a murder weren’t bad enough, someone begins snatching up prize-winning pets right from under their owners’ noses. Darcy is determined to protect the pampered participants at whatever cost. But she’ll have to work fast to sniff out the thief before she becomes the next victim of a killer determined to stop her dead in her tracks… (Goodreads)
Gone with the Witch is the perfect combination of magic and mystery. I loved every second of this enchanting sixth book in the Wishcraft Mystery series.
The Enchanted Village neighborhood in Salem, Massachusetts, is abuzz with the annual Pawsitively Enchanted Pet Extravaganza, with competitions in twelve categories whose winners will be featured in a commemorative calendar. The extravaganza’s organizer Ivy hires Darcy, a personal concierge, crafter, and unofficial private investigator, to keep an eye on one of the competitors, Natasha Norcliffe. Ivy believes Natasha is cheating and responsible for past competitors’ accidents and injuries. Everything is fine until Natasha collapses and dies right in front of Darcy. To make matters worse, a pet napper is on the loose, snatching both extravaganza contestants and local pets. On a more personal note, Darcy is counting the days until, having lived in the village long enough, she can learn about the Elder. Darcy digs deep to uncover secrets, infidelity, financial difficulties, and revenge.
I do not what has kept me from reading any of the Wishcraft Mystery books until now (the entire series has been waiting for me on my bookshelves), but I am sure glad that I had the opportunity to read Gone with the Witch. I had no trouble jumping right into the setting, story, or characters, and I think it can be easily read as a standalone. However, there is a big revelation at the end that makes me wish I had read the other installments first. No fear, though, I am going back ASAP to read the series from the beginning.
The Enchanted Village set within Salem, MA, is a delightful place, both for humans and “crafters”. The location provides the perfect backdrop for the very mortal problems of murder and kidnapping while maintaining the magic. The paranormal aspect of the series is mild, and I think even readers who do not think they like magic in their cozies will enjoy this world within a world that Heather Blake has created. The murder mystery is solid, though I did figure out whodunit relatively early on. Perhaps, even more entertaining than the murder is the subplot surrounding the pet nappings. Here, the perpetrator eluded me for most of the book.
All of the characters are well drawn and complex enough to not be stereotypes or clichés. Darcy is likable, caring, and genuine. Her ability to forgive easily may be her most admirable trait and her undoing, all at the same time. I really enjoy her interplay and relationship with her sister Harper. I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for Darcy and Nick, along with revelations about the Elder and magical secrets. I would be remiss if I did not mention my favorite characters – the familiars. How can you go wrong with nattily dressed mice and an orating Macaw? They kept me laughing throughout the story.
Heather Blake’s writing is smooth and witty; the book’s pace just right. I enjoyed Gone with the Witch immensely and recommend it to fans of the series, those who like an emphasis on pets (at least in this installment), and those who enjoy a sprinkling of magic.