I have not read the first book in the series, but I did start with the second book Looking For Mr. Good Witch (click here). In this book we find our "mature" witches attending Brian's fancy birthday bash...in a castle.
Copyright: Oct 2016 (Berkley) 304 pgs
Series: 3rd in Retired Witches Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy
Main Character: Molly Addison Renard, owner Smuggler’s Arcane Metaphysical shop and witch
Setting: Modern day, Wilmington, North Carolina
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
"With their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.
The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks."
I enjoy Molly for a main character. She is a mature woman and a quiet force of nature (water element witch!). Others in the cover include: Elsie is an outspoken, spunky, and rambunctious lady, Olivia is a ghost who is short-sighted and a bit selfish, and Dorothy is a witch in training and Olivia's daughter, Brian is the newest member from a prestigious Grand Council family who rebels against his family. The Grand Council is a bureaucracy of older, wealthy, and influential witches set in their ways. Throw in a Dorothy's renegade dragon father, a shape-shifter posing as a cat given to Brian as his familiar, and a cursed "Witchfinder" from the infamous 1500-era Inquisiton for many surprises. I thought Antonio de Santiago, the cursed Witchfinder, was the surprising breakout character of the book.
I enjoyed the attention to details, like Madam Tunis and her magical beauty shop. The bulk of the story takes place in Fuller Family Castle that can only be reached by magic and where the participants are cloistered during the investigation of the murder. This provided a feeling of isolation with a killer in plain sight among the attendees. Molly uses her policeman husband's investigative knowledge garnered from many years discussing investigations, to assist the investigation of far more powerful witches.
The story moves along with the subplots of politics, manipulation, and subterfuge. The pacing keeps up steadily with several twists. The Climax was more procedural than thrilling, but worked well in the plot. The wrap-up had it's own surprise to leave you wanting more.
The Retired Witches is a fun, quirky, and creative concept that takes witches to fun new levels and this novel is pure delight.
Rating: Near Perfect - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend.