Another Review at MyShelf.Com

It Takes a Witch
Witchcraft Mystery, No 1
Heather Blake

Jan 2012/ ISBN 978-0-451-23552-7

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

The Enchanted Village in Salem, Massachusetts attracts tourists from near and far. What most people don't realize, however, is that there are real witches and actual magic afoot there. Sisters Darcy and Harper Merriweather are 'Wishcrafters,' with a mandate to grant the wishes of those who are pure of heart when they make a wish.

Darcy and Harper have just recently moved to Salem from Ohio, following the death of their father. They knew nothing of their craft before and their Aunt Ve is now educating them. While learning, they also work for Ve's temporal business, 'As You Wish.' A town meeting is held, with the purpose of discussing a crime wave: Pick-pocketing that threatens to ruin the tourist industry unless the thief is found quickly.

Yet the petty theft is minor compared to what happens next. A young woman who is about to announce that she has proof that she, too, is a crafter is murdered. Aunt Ve's companion, Sylar Dewitt, chairman of the village council, is the number one suspect, but the evidence is circumstantial. Ve is despondent, and as Darcy sets out to expose the true culprit, she finds there are more suspects, motives, and clues then she anticipated. Just who did kill Alexandra Shively, and why?

Author Heather Blake, (aka Heather Webber) shares her incredibly rich imagination with readers in this first in a new series. From a talking mouse, who is a familiar (an animal inhabited by a spiritual being devoted to a witch or crafter), to Darcy dressing as the tooth fairy (tiara and all), 'It Takes a Witch' is a delightful read. The small size of the Enchanted Village allows space for the reader to get to know several characters quite well. The main characters are smart and fun. The secondary cast is unique and special, and I found it interesting to try to ascertain who was a crafter and who was a mere mortal. I loved the animals, including Missy, a dog Harper rescued from a puppy mill and a cat named Tilda, who is Aunt Ve's beloved pet. Darcy tries to discover if either of them are familiars. She and Harper both begin talking to insects to see if they answer as well! Archie, the macaw who lives next door to Aunt Ve is most certainly a familiar·but to whom? Perhaps the village·s secret Elder?

I live quite near Salem, Massachusetts, and must say that this book made me wish for a real-life Enchanted Village that I could visit. Blake has done a wonderful job creating a magical setting that will spark the imagination of readers of all ages. The mystery is solidly crafted, the whodunit well concealed until the end, and she's added a touch of romance, a dash of humor, and a healthy dose of magic as well. I recommend the book to readers who enjoy cozy mysteries, and those who enjoy a glimpse into the paranormal as well. Appropriate for teens and adults. Bravo, Heather Blake, for a book well written!

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2012
© 2012