Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti: A Magical Bakery Mystery
by Bailey Cates
Review by Harriet Klausner
Signet Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451238986
Date: 31 December 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Following her fiancÚ dumping her and tired of being an assistant manager at an Akron, Ohio bakery, Katie Lightfoot accepted the offer to run the Honeybee Bakery owned by her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben in Savannah. Their first customer tried to stiff them on half the bill before someone slashed her throat. Katie, her aunt, her new friends at the Spellbook Club and two charming hunks (journalist Steve Dawes and firefighter Declan McCarthy) proved Uncle Ben was not a murderer while Katie learns from Lucy that she is a witch as are those who helped her on the case (see Brownies and Broomsticks).
Though successful at her first investigation, Katie struggles with adjusting to the use of magic, belonging to a coven, running a bakery, and having hunks drool over her; with the latter being the most bewildering. On a picnic, Katie and Declan stumble over a corpse whose arm has an odd looking tattoo. They call the cops who question the two picnickers before letting them go. Katie describes the tattoo to her Spellbook Club coven. They recognize the body art as that of an ancient Druid clan. She mentions what she saw to Steve due to his magical background and who coincidentally belongs to that Druid clan. As Katie and Aunt Lucy continue their inquiry, a killer plans a magical murder for the snoops and her bewitching friends.
The second Magical Bakery Mystery is a wonderful amateur sleuth urban fantasy starring a precocious heroine supported and warmly welcomed by her mentoring relatives and an eccentric coven. Katie keeps the storyline focused as she is a moxie mix of bewilderment, awe, and fear (of failure). Her aunt is a delightful teacher instructing her niece on more than the use of magic while her uncle is more laid back unless aroused as happened in Brownies and Broomsticks. The coven adds quirky diverse personalities to the mix while Savannah (especially the historical old sector) comes across as a charming character providing a fabulous backdrop.
The paranormal investigation is fun to follow as Katie and crew use spells to find several suspects, but unable to determine the identity of the killer until it may be too late for aunt and niece. With a top notch whodunit, a dark magic investigator working undercover, and a simmering romance in the early stages, fans will relish this tale as Bailey Cates cleverly keeps readers spellbound with Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti.