Series: Magic Potion Mystery #1
Genres: Paranormal Mystery
Published by Penguin on 5 November 2013
Reading Challenges: 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
A Potion to Die For is a cozy paranormal mystery done well. Blake uses a range of tropes that fans of this genre would be familiar with and gives us an engaging heroine to boot. Carly Bell Hartwell owns a Little Shop of Potions where she mixes a range of white magic potions for her customers, boosted by a very special secret ingredient. The last thing she expected was to find lawyer Nelson Winton dead on her floor clutching one of her signature potion bottles. Dishy Sergeant Dylan Jackson (who also happens to be her ex) lends a hand along with her estranged cousin, black witch Delia.Carly is a white witch who specialises in healing and love potions (a nice nod to Blake’s Lucy Valentine series under the name of Heather Webber). She has a very strong moral compass so accusations that she murdered Nelson are quite hurtful as well as being bad for business. Things take a turn for the worse when Coach Floyd Butts (snicker) crashes his truck and blames Carly for poisoning him. Naturally Carly ignores Dylan’s repeated warnings to not investigate.
Carly is lucky to have an army of colourful personalities around from her mother who wants to drum up interest in her wedding chapel, the odd aunts who each own a boarding house that matches their personalities and the neighbour who can predict when couples are going to marry or divorce. Thankfully there were several ‘normals’ thrown in. I was also glad Blake made the relationship (of sorts) with the stereotypical decent cop a little more unusual by having Carly almost marry him twice as it adds a little spice.
The mystery is nicely executed with enough red herrings along the way to have you wondering who the criminal is but I felt the pace slowed down a bit in the middle which was a shame as the marathon run at the start was fantastic. Things pick up again fairly quickly once Delia gets more involved.
Blake has delivered another warm and engaging cozy paranormal mystery but there was never any doubt in my mind that she wouldn’t pull it off. I adore the Wishcraft series and it is great to see her heading off in another direction.