Title: Chili Cauldron Curse
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Subgenre: Paranormal cozy
Series name: Kitchen witch mystery
What’s best about it:
- The magic is introduced right away
- The main character is a driven woman thrown together with a slacker for a week
- Plenty of believable suspects
- The problem of hunger in the US drives the plot without overshadowing it
- First in a series
- This is a novella
Find out more about it: https://www.lynncahoon.com/kitchenwitchseries
When Mia agrees to organize the food pantry in her grandmother’s small town during her vacation from the restaurant where she works, she doesn’t expect to find a dead body behind the canned goods. And she really doesn’t expect the local police to fasten onto her grandmother as the lead suspect. Can Mia discover the culprit while sorting through boxes of produce, overseeing her boyfriend’s wayward sister, dealing with Gran’s magical spell gone awry, and brushing off her own rusty kitchen witch abilities?
I loved Mia’s method of sleuthing. She didn’t use her magic to uncover the murderer, never inserted herself into the investigation, and never asked questions guaranteed to bring the conversation to a grinding halt. Instead, she observed, listened, and passed on tips to the local police. Her grandmother’s membership in the town’s coven gave her access to the victim’s world, but she was on the fringes – not ready to join, but friendly with many of the members – and the author made this believable.
Each character had a distinctive personality, including Mia, who was likable without being perfect. The murderer’s motive was credible, but not so obvious that I guessed their identity.
The characters’ relationships are carefully drawn. Mia is obviously holding onto the shreds of her patience when her grandmother becomes overbearing or preachy, or her boyfriend’s sister is whiny or shirking her fair share of the work. Yet, she is thankful for them and for their growing friendship with each other. Mia’s relationship with her boyfriend is also revealed little by little throughout the book, so that the reader cheers the book’s resolution.
This is the first in a series. I’ve already ordered the second, which will be available in February 2021.
If you like this book review, check out my reviews of other paranormal cozy mysteries: PUSHED TIMES CHEWING PEPPER: Review DAISIES FOR INNOCENCE by Bailey Cattrell: review THE ACCIDENTAL ALCHEMIST: Book Review