October 10, 2012

Review: Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine

Halloween is just around the corner, and between cauldrons of candy and a deliciously cute new neighbour, Jaine Austen is struggling to resist her sweet tooth. But this year, her once humdrum neighbourhood seems to be handing out more tricks than treats...

When her faithful feline Prozac unwittingly scares to death a parakeet belonging to the neighbourhood's resident curmudgeon, Jaine finds herself knee-deep in toil and trouble. The cantankerous Hollywood has-been once played the part of Cryptessa Muldoon, television's fourth most famous monster mom. Now a bitter, paranoid old dame, Cryptessa spends her days making enemies with everyone on the street, and accidental bird killer Jaine is no exception. 

So when the ornery D-lister is murdered with her own Do Not Trespass sign on Halloween night, the neighbourhood fills with relief - and possible culprits. With a killer on the loose, Jaine hardly has time to fall under the spell of her yummy new neighbour Peter. 

As the prime suspect, she summons her sleuthing skills to clear her name and soon discovers that everyone has a few skeletons in their closets - and the motives for murder are endless. Could it have been Cryptessa's next door neighbours, the barracuda husband and wife realtors whose landscaping Cryptessa had bulldozed? Or the seemingly sweet old lady whose beloved dog was the object of Cryptessa's wrath? Or perhaps the crotchety actress was done in by her own nephew in a desperate attempt to get his hands on her money? As the masks come off, Jaine's search for sweet justice turns up more questions than answers. 

And just when she thought nothing could be scarier than her run-in with a tortuous Tummy Tamer, she closes in on the killer and learns the true meaning of grave danger...

My Thoughts: 
Death of a Neighborhood Witch is book eleven in the Jaine Austen Series. I've only read one other book in the series, Killing Bridezilla (my review) and didn't feel as if I was missing anything. It's so fun to read a clean and innocent cozy mystery every now and then and this one fits the bill.

Jaine is hilarious and the many different ways she justifies her over-eating and snack habit makes me giggle.  When you add in the many side characters like her gay neighbor who competes with Jaine for the hot guy that just moved in down the block, the busy-body across the street and Jaine's own snarky cat you get a well written murder mystery.

If there was any down-side to the book it was the fact that Janie was a suspect in Cryptessa's murder but didn't seem too worried about it. That kind of stayed in the back of my mind throughout the book and I just wish it was addressed differently. Other that that it was a great light read.

I recommend this for anyone who loves a well written cozy with fun side characters.

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bermudaonion said...

This sounds perfect for October! I love a good cozy.