First Line: Black-robed figures circled the bonfire.
Clyde (short for Clytemnestra) Fortune has left her career in the police force behind and returned to her quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. It's time for the fall festival, and Clyde's best friend Diana is in charge of the ritual bonfire, but someone dies at the event, and Diana is the prime suspect.
Clyde may have her hands full with her off-the-wall mother and aunt, her nephew, and a secret romance with the local hunk of a homicide detective, but when another person is attacked, she knows she has to put those skills she learned as a police officer to good use.
The death of Rafe Godwin is a true puzzler, and that fact alone had me enjoying Be Careful What You Witch For from first page to last. But other things about this book helped increase my enjoyment factor.
First and foremost is the cast of characters. With a tarot card reader for a mother and a pet psychic for an aunt, Clyde has a lot to deal with-- especially since both women constantly pester her about developing her own gifts. How her father, whose only eccentricity seems to be a fondness for listening to his police scanner, has managed to live in harmony with his wife and sister-in-law for so many years is mystifying. He must have taken selective hearing to unseen heights. Mama Rose and Aunt Vi can be laugh-out-loud funny, and Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur would probably consider them her BFFs. Picturing these two mature ladies tailing suspects in their bright orange smart car is an image that is forever burned into my memory. And when Clyde isn't dealing with her flighty family, there's her romance with Mac to cozy up to.
I think what surprises me the most about this Family Fortune series is how much the paranormal is mentioned yet how little it actually plays a part in the books. Crystal Haven is a New Age town and derives a great deal of its income from Wicca, tarot, psychics, and more, but these things have little to do with how the crimes are solved. Clyde has supposedly suffered from prophetic dreams that she's learned to ignore, but these dreams-- once again-- have little to do with the story. The closest we actually get to the paranormal is with Clyde's nephew Seth, a teenager who can hear what animals (especially dogs) are thinking, but his experiences occur offstage and are merely talked about. I can see those who don't care for paranormal cozies actually reading and enjoying Eastman's Family Fortune books.
As for me, I'm looking forward to Clyde's next sleuthing adventure... and possibly another glimpse of Rose and Vi in that smart car.
Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman
Berkley Prime Crime © 2014
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Cozy Mystery, #2 Family Fortune mystery
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.