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A Familiar Tail
Witch's Cat #1
Delia James

NAL/Obsidian Mystery
February 2, 2016 / ISBN 978-0451476579

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


Freelance artist Annabelle Amelia Blessingsound Britton comes from a long line of witches, even though she's not aware of the fact. It quickly becomes clear, however, when she takes a break from work to visit her grandmother's birthplace, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to research her family history. Her friend, Martine, runs a successful restaurant and suggests people Annabelle can contact for more information. Then she meets Alistair, a smoky gray cat who is a local legend, a ghost cat and known witch's familiar who constantly disappears. Annabelle learns that his previous owner, Dorothy Hawthorne, died due to a fall down the basement stairs; however, when Alistair leads her into the vacant cottage near the B&B where she's staying, she senses the woman's death was murder. When Alistair leads her to the attic, Annabelle finds an altar with pentacles and a carved wand. Dorothy was obviously a witch, but why did she have a photo of Annabelle on the altar?

Annabelle becomes friends with several witches who tell her that her "vibes" about places are undeveloped powers. But one witch, the wealthy Elizabeth Maitland, makes Annabelle feel unwelcome. Why does Elizabeth bear such enmity toward Annabelle's grandmother, who was also a member of the coven? Is Dorothy Hawthorne's nephew right in suspecting the fall down the basement stairs was murder? Unfortunately, every time Annabelle believes she's figured people out, they send her theories into a tailspin.

Delia James did an excellent job in portraying the characters in this book, and especially that of Annabelle. Alistair stole the show, however, making for many touching and even comical situations.

A Familiar Tail is an enchanting tale of witches and covens, combined with a delectable touch of mystery, filled with surprising twists that kept me entranced and begging for more. I loved it!

Reviews of other titles in this series

A Familiar Tail #1
By Familiar Means #2
Familiar Motives #3


Linda Morelli is the award-winning author of Fiery Surrender, Shadow of a Doubt, and Lani's Challenge.
Reviewed 2016