4 star

The Witch and the Dead

A Wishcraft Mystery #7

By Heather Blake


Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele

Synopsis:   the-witch-and-the-dead

When Darcy moved to Salem, Massachusetts, she never expected her life to change as drastically as it did. But within a short time, the Enchanted Village has become her home, its mystical residents have become her family, and As You Wish, the personal concierge business formerly run by her Aunt Ve, has become her calling. Still, the time has come for change—and for Darcy to move out of Aunt Ve’s house.
Darcy’s belongings are stashed in Aunt Ve’s garage, alongside a mess of memories, forgotten possessions, and, to both Ve and Darcy’s horror, a pile of old bones. It turns out they belong to Ve’s long missing second husband. Now Darcy must unpack old secrets to solve a cold case—and make sure her aunt isn’t looking at a spell behind bars. (Goodreads)


With The Witch and the Dead, author Heather Blake once again casts a spell over readers with lively characters, an engaging mystery, and plenty of magic.

The Wishcraft Mystery series is one of my favorite series, and I look forward to each installment.  This seventh book is definitely worth the wait.  Wishcrafter (she grants wishes) Darcy’s house renovations are complete, and she is working on moving her belongings bit by bit out of her Aunt Ve’s garage when she comes across a skeleton hidden in the garage.  As if that is not shocking enough, it soon becomes apparent that the deceased is Miles Babbage, Aunt Ve’s second husband who has been missing for thirty years.  As the Elder’s representative and investigator, it is Darcy’s job to probe to see if magic was involved and keep their magical world secret from the regular world.  Also, she wants to make sure Aunt Ve is clear of any suspicion. However, it is not easy to find the truth about what happened so long ago, and everyone has secrets they want to keep.  There is even fear that dark magic might be in play.   In addition to the murder investigation, Darcy and Nick’s relationship is moving forward, and Darcy’s friend Starla and her sister Harper are both facing relationship challenges.  There are also some startling lineage revelations.

Truthfully, I enjoyed just about everything regarding this book.  The Enchanted Village neighborhood in Salem, Massachusetts, is the perfect setting for a paranormal cozy.  I love that there are witches living right alongside mortals, and that they are able to keep their abilities hidden outside of the Crafter community.  With each book, we learn more about the rules of the Craft, and there is some emphasis on seekers and dark magic in The Witch and the Dead.  Have no fear, though, everything is kept on a nice cozy appropriate level.  The magic is sprinkled throughout, but I never find it heavy handed, and the mystery always holds the main emphasis in the tale.

The characters are all well developed, and I feel invested in their lives.  I experience their ups and downs as they do.  Darcy is a great protagonist, likable and relatable.  You can tell that she has a heart of gold and cares deeply about everyone around her.  She continues to learn more about the Craft, and relationships continue to evolve.  I really like Nick and Mimi, and they bring grounding authenticity to Darcy’s magical world.  The supporting characters are varied and interesting, and they add to the story.  Worthy of note are all of the familiars.  Mice Pepe and Mrs. P are delightful and add whimsy to the tale.  Scarlet macaw Archie is a hoot.  I adore his and Darcy’s attempts to stump each other with movie quotes.  I am dying to know what lies ahead for a certain familiar that so many do not realize is a familiar (I do not want to spoil anything here for those who have not read, but this character provides a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the book).

The mystery within these pages is nicely crafted.  The age of the crime makes it all the more complicated and a bit harder to figure out.  There are plenty of suspects, and I had an inkling of whodunit, but I was not completely sure until the big reveal.  The perpetrator’s belief about Mile’s spelled amulet is heartbreaking.  Darcy, Nick, and Marcus face real danger at one point, and this provides great tension.  I am also so very happy with the ending of the book and cannot wait to see what happens next for Darcy and crew.

I loved The Witch and the Dead and cannot say enough good things about the characters and Blake’s fantastic storytelling.  I highly recommend it fans of magic in their cozies and those who appreciate good writing.