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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review - Divine Circle of Ladies Tipping the Scales

It is springtime and some areas are seeing some evidence of warmer temperatures.  Lawns are beginning to show some green, buds are showing on tree limbs and so on.  But it is also time to catch up on my favorite paranormal mystery series.  So please join me in a little trip to Massachusetts to visit with some extraordinary women who solve mysteries in their unique way.

Author:  Dolores Stewart Riccio

Copyright:  August 2010 (CreateSpace) 412 pgs

Series:  7th in Divine Circle/Cass Shipton Mystery

Sensuality:  mild

Mystery Sub-genre:
  Cozy, amateur sleuth

Main Character:  Cassandra Shipton, Herbalist and Clairvoyant

Modern day, Plymouth Massachusetts

Obtained Through:  Library

I must provide a disclaimer right up front - this is my favorite paranormal mystery series.  I think of it as the trailblazer for this series started long before a paranormal mystery was the "in" thing.

Let me introduce you to the five phenomenal women who are the Divine Circle:

Cassandra, the viewpoint character, is an herbalist and reluctant clairvoyant. 

Phillipa, a cookbook author and poet who reads the Tarot a little too accurately.

Heather, an heiress and animal lover.  She makes magical candles and runs the local pet rescue.

Deidre, recently widowed who crafts dolls and magical amulets for sale in her boutique besides being a mother of four young children who now communicates with the dead.

Fiona, the eccentric librarian who dowses with a crystal and is a fount of information - the wise woman of the group with a hippie side.  Don't let her "mature" age fool you!

I am including Freddie, Cassandra's daughter-in-law who has telekinetic abilities is back in this adventure with the CIA wanting to recruit her.

Cassandra gets called up for jury duty in the gruesome case of a home invasion that ended in a double murder of a mother and daughter.  The two men being tried for the case seem obvious killers, but Cass being clairvoyant knows the case isn't so cut and dry as everybody thinks.  Even the elderly mother of the murdered woman insists justice isn't being done and pleads with Cass to get involved.  The murdered daughter starts making appearances to Deidre too.  Cassandra digs into the case more.

 Heather enlists Cass's time and talents to help hunt down a dog fighting ring and shut it down.  Freddie even does some remote viewing to scope out the location. But during a night-time covert reconnaissance they inadvertently tip-off the operator of the dog-fight ring.  Trouble is brewing with each passing day, but will it be the murderer or the dog fight operator who decides to stop the Circle's intervention?

In each book the circle helps a person in need, this time it is a domestic abuse victim who has some psychic talents of her own.  Ashling levitates without thinking about it and is being haunted by her recently deceased husband.  Ashling is another delightful addition and it appears she maybe back in the next book which I am looking forward to. 

The characters in this series seem to get better and better with each book. I must say I really missed Tip in this one since he is away at college.  This is what I mean, all of the characters become your book buddies and you want to spend time with them.  So even Tip was missed as he is part of this family. It is heartwarming to see that widowed Deidre may have a chance at love again with an old high school friend who has returned to Plymouth.  

Each one of the women in the circle are so well developed that you feel you could sit and have tea (or a nip of something stronger) with them and love every minute.

The dual plot is played out well, keeping the reader drawn in with each new development.  Each plot has its related consequences and danger involved.  Each plot touches me.  for instance, what would you do and how would you feel if you thought a sadistic dog-fight ring were running in your neighborhood? You experience what a vet feels as they treat a trained fight dog and try to rehabilitate it.  But you get to be one of the people snooping and getting photos to give to the police in this story as well.  Even the trial of the double murder - what would you do if you were in the jury box but clairvoyantly saw what happened and nobody else knows what the truth is? Wouldn't you want justice done?  You can tell the style of writing puts you in their shoes from my descriptions. 

The climax is realistic and gets a cheer from the reader and the wrap up is a set up for the next adventure hinting at Cass getting involved in one of hubby's Greenpeace jobs.  Hmmmmm.  I can't wait.

The book is fantastic.  A bit of everything from a touch of romance, suspenseful danger, adventure, a wee bit of magic, pets, cooking, family, sisterhood and close friends, varied characters of different ages and backgrounds all against the backdrop of the Massachusetts changing seasons.  This isn't a book to read, it is a story to experience with these five phenomenal women.

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