Wicked Witch Murder Paperback – Aug 24 2010
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About the Author
Leslie Meier is the acclaimed author of sixteen Lucy Stone mysteries and has also written for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. She lives in Harwich, Massachusetts, where she is currently at work on the next Lucy Stone mystery. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
She doesn't want her girls consorting with the local witch, so what does she do? Lets the witch stay with her, and leaves her girls alone under her care! Yes, like that's going to keep them disinterested in witchcraft...Every time someone asks her to do a favor in this book,she knows she shouldn't do it, but she says yes anyway. And the "favor" that puts her in peril at the climax is simply unbelievable--anyone with half a brain would have said no immediately.
There are other problems with the series at this point as well. At one point, Lucy demands of her girls, "Aren't you feminists?" How on earth could they be? We've watched Lucy do her nearly-full-time job AND handle all of the household work, yardwork, gardening, and kowtow to her jerk of a husband as he complains about the dinners she cooks, shows no interest in her work, and treats her with an almost arrogant contempt. (He's so awful that at one point, I thought Meier was setting us up for a Bill-as-abusive-husband-ends-up-dead book). Lucy is hardly a model of feminism, and she forces her daughters into traditional homemaking roles as well, so how could they be feminists?
Editorial mistakes abound. Lucy asks the witch, Diana, if she's leaving town because she's afraid of "Ike Stonington." Hmm. There's a character named Ike Stoughton, but no Stonington. There's some confusion in places about exactly what time of year it is; in one part, Lucy has just told us it's the middle of August, and a few pages later, someone says, "Summer's just started." There are unexplained plot lines, as other reviewers have noticed, the mysterious bear being one of them.
These books used to be written and edited with much more care. This one has a lot of promise, but falls down on several levels. It's OK, but not more than OK.
Anyway, I picked this on up at the library after a recommendation from a good friend and fellow reviewer here on Amazon who has never lead me astray with her suggestions. I did not start with the first book in the series which is my usually practice - there are two reasons for this. First, our library, like most libraries these days, is suffering through rough economic times and as the politicians like to hit library funding first, our library simply cannot afford to buy all the books in any one given series. Secondly, I have found if I read the fifth, sixth or such book in a series and I like it, then the chances are pretty good that I will like the entire series. I have to tell you right now that I enjoyed this work very much and it contained all the elements in a cozy that I look for - more about that later.
The story takes place in a small town in Maine. Our central character, Lucy, is a reporter for the little weekly newspaper and is quite involved with her community. The main plot in this work revolves around a new member of the community, a self professed witch who has opened a small store specializing is books, herbs and such and she gives little "seminars" on witch craft and readings.
Lucy discovers the body of a man in the woods near her home that has died a rather ghastly death and begins investigating.
Now I will admit right now that the plot of this story is rather simple and the outcome is indeed, as others have pointed out, sort of predictable. Personally I could careless about this aspect of the story. I do not read these cozies for complicated murders, graphic violence, non-stop action and trying to figure out shaded and obscure clues as to "who done it." No, for me a cozy either makes you feel, well...cozy and allows you to share the lives of a family or small community or it doesn't; those that don't, I don't read. I like colorful characters and quaint settings. If I want complicated and complex murder mysteries there are thousands upon thousands available and when the mood strikes me, I seek them out.
This is a rather mellow read. I must say that even though this one is classified as a "cozy" I found the author's observations of human nature, community and family interaction and general "attitude" just as interesting as the mystery itself.
Each of us has our own reading requirements and we are lucky in this day and age to have so many great works available. If we do not like one, then we have plenty of others to choose from. This particular novel suited my purposes perfectly and I will now proceed to read others by this author and this series.
Let me address one point that seems to be a sticking point with several readers. This revolves around the fact that Lucy allowed an almost complete stranger to move into her house for a bit while the stranger faced a certainly amount of danger. While this may not be the brightest thing a person could do, there are those of us that would indeed do such a thing. As a matter of fact my wife and I have done just that several times over the years; from battered women, to slight acquaintances having hard times, to folks that simply needed a helping hand and an ear to bend, so this was not all that shocking to me personally. But he, that is just us...we are who we are and more or less have to follow our nature.
I did like this book!