The Summer Sea Carnival is coming to the magical island of Bijou Mer, and Prince Harry has decided that it would be nice if the royal bakery had a booth at this year’s festivities. Imogen Banks, witch-in-training and master baker, jumps at the chance to help run the booth, in order to avoid Prince Harry—Hank to her—because of her strong feelings for her being all complicated by the fact that he’s engaged to be married . . . to someone else.
Things quickly get out of hand when the famed necromancer, Madame Zerna, is found sawed in half in the magician’s tent, and her arch-rival, Rhonda, is found standing over the body with a bloody saw in her hand. Rhonda appeals to Imogen for help, and having previously been wrongfully accused, Imogen understands her friend’s dilemma and decides to try and clear her name.
In Black Arts, Tarts & Gypsy Carts by Erin Johnson it’s always darkest before the dawn, and only slightly overcast afterwards. You’ll fall in love with Imogen and most of her friends, especially Iggy, the irreverent flame who helps her bake some of the most amazing dishes, and you’ll roundly boo the villains—as soon as you figure out just who they are. Johnson has a way of masking the bad guy (or gal) until the very last minute, so the reader is as surprised as Imogen when the mask comes off.
This is book 2 in what is quickly becoming my favorite mystery series. I received a free copy of this book.
I give it five stars.
Imogen Banks has scrimped and saved to amass enough money to open her own bakery. Just when she’s reached her monetary goal, her dreams go up in flames. But, she has somehow managed to become a contestant in a mysterious baking contest at an island off the coast of France. With nothing to lose—literally, as everything burned up in when her apartment went up in flames—she buys a ticket to France.
Once at the mysterious island, she encounters something she’s never believed in before, magic. Her skills are put to the test as she contends with magical creatures, including a wise cracking cooking flame, and a contestant dropping dead in the middle of the competition, and her humble self being looked at as the prime suspect.
Time is running short for Imogen. She must find the real killer, dig deep to find the baking skills to prevail in a contest she has no hope of winning, and learn to deal with the fact that, despite her inability to cast even the simplest spell, she is herself a creature of magic.
Seashells, Spells & Caramels by Erin Johnson is a delightful cozy mystery, with liberal doses of murder, mayhem, and magic, that will entertain you on every page. This book will delight both mystery fans and those who like the supernatural. It is unnaturally entertaining.
I received a free copy of this author’s first novel, and give it five stars for its sheer entertainment value.