When her grandmother, affectionately known as Grans, needs help getting a local food bank in working order, Mia Malone jumps at the chance to return to return to Magic Springs, Idaho. While the trip’s worth it to just be part of something worthwhile, Mia also has to admit it’s nice spending time in a community full of magic. A place where she can be around others who share her abilities. However, after she uncovers the body of a powerful warlock, Dorian Alexander, while stocking produce, Mia is going to have to use more than a spell to find the killer. And she’ll need to be quick, because Grans is the prime suspect.
Lynn Cahoon’s short introduction to her newest cozy series proves that a great author doesn’t need many words to craft a fully realized mystery. If anything, the truncated novella medium allows Chili Cauldron Curse to clip along at a tight pace—no scene goes wasted, from Mia’s surprise discovery of the body to the final pulse-pounding reveal. Yet, there’s plenty of time for sleuthing, culinary planning, and magic without ever feeling as though too much has been jammed into too few pages.
Of course, it helps that Cahoon has infused her work with a spellbinding cast of characters. Mia, who would much rather focus on her role managing a local chili cookoff, is the quintessential amateur investigator—and she has plenty of personal complications that’ll surely take center stage in later books. Grans, quirky and a total delight, is a wonderful friendly foil, with a couple of tricks up her sleeve to keep Mia on her toes.
Ultimately, though, it’s the town of Magic Springs that casts the biggest spell. Filled with a blend of magic and non-magic folk, it’s an easy world to slip into. Cahoon uses it to her full advantage, giving just enough of an enticing glimpse of a coven going through a power struggle and some non-believing denizens to set up future adventures and problems.
Light and fun, Chili Cauldron Curse is a magical start to a new series.
Title: Chili Cauldron Curse
Series: Kitchen Witch Mysteries #0.5
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Classification: Cozy Mystery
Cahoon’s Website | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads
Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.