It was the first day of December in Salem, Massachusetts, my hometown. ~ Opening of Bells, Spells, and Murder by Carol J. Perry
Bells, Spells, and Murders (Witch City Murder, #7) by Carol J. Perry
Crime Fiction (Cozy); 371 pgs
Source: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
Lee Barrett loves her job as the new field reporter for WICH-TV in Salem. While on assignment to interview the head of the city's Holiday Walk Committee, Lee finds him dead at his desk. Lee evidently is not new to murder investigations (after all, this is the 7th book in the series), but it does not make stumbling on a dead body any easier. Putting her investigative reporter skills to good use and piecing together her psychic visions, Lee sets out to find a murderer and uncover the cause of some unusual occurrences she has begun to observe. Can she do it before too many more bodies pile up and before the big blizzard comes to town?
Bells, Spells, and Murders is my first introduction to Lee Barrett, Aunt Ibby and their perceptive cat O'Ryan. I enjoy a good paranormal cozy mystery, and I am happy to say this was a good one. A reporter makes a good protagonist in the mystery genre. They have the perfect excuse for interfering in a police investigation--not only to get to the bottom of the crime for justice sake, but also to get their scoop. Lee Barrett is a likeable character: conscientious, good at her job, and clever. Her romantic relationship with a police detective gives her a bit of an edge, even if he is not as forthcoming with information as she might like.
The paranormal element in the novel is definitely there, but is not overwhelming. Lee has visions that offer her clues, but the clues are often unclear. There is also an appearance or two by a witch who reads Tarot cards. And, of course, O'Ryan's helpful direction now and then. It is all subtle enough that I do not think either particularly lended to the solving of the crime, and so for those who may not care as much for the paranormal, you still might enjoy this cozy.
This made a great holiday read, given the holiday time setting, as Lee gets in some of her Christmas shopping, picks out her tree, and does stories on various holiday events around Salem. I enjoyed going along with Lee and her camera woman as they carried out their various assignments. I liked the mystery itself--the occasional twist and the resolution was satisfying, even if not a complete surprise. Bells, Spells, and Murders was an entertaining read, a perfect way to ring in the Christmas season!
For more information about the author and her books, visit her website.