Steeped to Death

Crooked Lane. (Witches’ Brew Mystery, Bk. 1). Sept. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781639101641. $26.99. M
DEBUT Phoebe Winchester’s Aunt Eudora leaves her the 200-year-old family mansion in Raven Creek, WA, and her combination bookstore/tea shop. Matters become complicated when Dierdre Miller shows up at the shop with a large man in tow, demanding that Phoebe sell her the house. Phoebe refuses and later that night the police find a body behind the shop—the man who accompanied Dierdre. When a local shop owner gives her the cold shoulder, Phoebe guesses it has something to do with rumors that Eudora was a witch. As a young teen visiting her aunt, Phoebe always laughed at those rumors, but over dinner with a childhood friend, she discovers she has a power of her own. She may need it when she’s followed several times and overhears plans to break into her house. She shares her suspicions with the police, but an amateur sleuth with new powers just has bad luck sometimes.
VERDICT The first “Witches’ Brew” mystery is a compelling debut with a mature amateur sleuth, a solid supporting cast, and a cat to rival Miranda James’s Diesel. For readers who enjoy the paranormal elements in Juliet Blackwell’s and Bree Baker’s cozies.
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