Leighann Dobbs writes the Blackmoore Sisters romantic cozy mystery series, but this is the debut novel in her new mystery series. This series adds a splash of paranormal whimsy to the storyline. As I anticipated reading this book, I expected something along the lines of Heather Blake's Wishcraft mysteries.
Copyright: March 2014 (Self Published) 304 pgs
Series: 2st in Mystic Notch Cozy Mysteries
Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy
Main Characters: Wilhelmina Chance, middle-aged ghost whisperer and bookstore owner
Setting: Modern day, Mystic Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Obtained Through: Personal purchase
Wilhelmina has returned to Mystic Notch after a bad divorce and a worse car accident that has resulted in her being able to see and communicate with ghosts. She returns for the inheritance her grandmother left her, but gets a second chance as a bonus. When she discovers the body of the town librarian, Lavinia, she finds herself enlisted by her ghost to unveil the killer who pushed Lavinia down the stairs. In addition, the cats in town seem to congregate and be far more aware than the people of the undercurrent of evil in town, particularly Willa's inherited cat Pandora. A few chapters are from Pandora's perspective and it added to the story to understand how the cat's are part of the drama.
Wilhelmina, Willa for short, is a fun character with a little spunk and a . Her best friend Pepper St. Onge mixes magical herbal teas which often back fire. She is a good side kick to motivate Willa out of her set ways. Sister Augusta, the sheriff, is the adult in the room. The morning coffee club that meets at Willa's book store consists of Hattie, Cordelia, Josiah, and Bing who are each a little eccentric. Elspeth is looking out for the homeless cats and working on a shelter. Lavinia's ghost is often late in communicating vital information. A nice touch is the bookstore resident ghosts of Robert Frost and Franklin Pierce. Sheriff Eddie Striker, from neighboring town of Dixford Pass, is the standard policeman romantic interest. I was hoping the romantic element would be more creative since the sister is the sheriff, but no luck.
Mystic Notch, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is a very typical small town. I liked how the residents think"down south" is Massachusetts. Otherwise the setting was just a backdrop for the story. The plot was average for a paranormal cozy and was developed nicely. The pacing was consistent with entertaining antics and investigating. The killer reveal had a few moments of tension and is dramatically resolved. The wrap-up leaves a few hints as to Willa's yet undiscovered powers.
While I found some elements to be unimaginative and predictable (bland small town, standard cop romantic interest), there were other elements that sparked interest - such as the town cats and their fight against evil combined with the ghost whisperer and potentially powerful Willa. Overall it is a fun and entertaining book to kick off a new series. If you enjoy Heather Blake's "Wishcraft Mysteries", you will enjoy this series.
Ratings: Good - A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.