*Many thanks to Point Blank for my review copy!*
About the book:
Rosie Strange doesn’t believe in ghosts or witches or magic. No, not at all. It’s no surprise therefore when she inherits the ramshackle Essex Witch Museum, her first thought is to take the money and run.
Still, the museum exerts a curious pull over Rosie. There’s the eccentric academic who bustles in to demand she help in a hunt for old bones, those of the notorious Ursula Cadence, a witch long since put to death. And there’s curator Sam Stone, a man about whom Rosie can’t decide if he’s tiresomely annoying or extremely captivating. It all adds up to looking like her plans to sell the museum might need to be delayed, just for a while.
Finding herself and Sam embroiled in a most peculiar centuries-old mystery, Rosie is quickly expelled from her comfort zone, where to her horror, the secrets of the past come with their own real, and all too present, danger as a strange magic threatens to envelope them all.
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About the author:
Before embarking on a career in education, Syd worked extensively in the publishing industry, fronting Channel 4’s book programme, Pulp. She was the founding editor of Level 4, an arts and culture magazine, and is co-creator of Super Strumps, the game that reclaims female stereotypes. Syd has also been a go go dancer, backing singer, subbuteo maker, children’s entertainer and performance poet, She now works for Metal Culture, an arts organisation, promoting arts and cultural events and developing literature programmes. Syd is an out and proud Essex Girl and is lucky enough to live in that county where she spends her free time excavating old myths and listening out for things that go bump in the night.
I’m a big fan of book covers, and upon seeing just the proof for Strange Magic, I knew I had to get my hands on it as I love a skull being used in a design. I’ve seen the finished product too, and it is even more beautiful!
Strange Magic focuses on Rosie Strange, who has inherited the Essex Witch Museum. Initially, her first thought is to sell it and go back to her life without a second thought. As we all know though, life is often not that simple. Upon claiming ownership, Rosie and the curator, Sam, are tasked with trying to recover the remains of a witch who had lived hundreds of years previously.
Strange Magic follows Rosie and Sam as they undertake this search, and find themselves tangled up in a centuries-old mystery surrounding Ursula Cadence. Odd things start to happen, and there is an air of prestidigitation throughout the course of the book which lends itself nicely to the story.
I think Strange Magic is a cosy mystery as opposed to a thriller, and there is nothing wrong with that. It was a welcome change of pace to my usual reads, and it was a very gentle story. The witchcraft and history were quite interesting too, as it’s not something I would have ever thought to read about.
If you like Golden Age crime novels, I think Strange Magic would definitely be a book worth putting on your list. An easy pace, suspensful and with interesting characters, it was a nice break from the norm for me.