This is apparently the 11th book in the Witch City Mysteries, something I didn’t realise when I requested it for review - but actually, I think it stands all right on its own, I don’t think you need to have read the whole series to get what’s going on. Told entirely in the POV of Lee Barrett, recently promoted from on-camera reporter to programming manager at WICH-TV in Salem, the story gets going when Lee runs across a woman sitting alone on a park bench who has lost her memory. There’s enough setup before it to get to know and like Lee, to realise that she’s both busy and successful, and then her obvious kindness comes out when she stops to help a stranger.
There is a pretty big cast of characters here, some of which would obviously be familiar to readers of earlier books in the series, but I think we got enough of a thumbnail sketch of each of them from context that I wasn’t too confused. I didn’t get the primary villain’s motivation for a lot of the things he did - and boy, was he stupid with some of them, especially since apparently he actually had a gun and just never used it until the climax of the story - and I really didn’t comprehend how the financial scam the villain was trying to protect worked, but I suspect that might be something Americans would actually understand instinctively if they know how home loans work there (they really do NOT work that way where I live in Australia). It really needed explaining more clearly and in laymen’s terms. The book also suffers from something many cozy mysteries do; a complete and mystifying lack of diversity. Literally everyone in the book is white, straight and able-bodied. And a lot of them, including heroine Lee, are well-off. Even the motivation for the crime being investigated is about as Rich White Man as you can imagine.
There’s some light paranormal content here; Lee gets ‘visions’ in reflective surfaces, her friend River is a gifted Tarot reader, and Lee can also communicate with her cat, O’Ryan, who is clearly no ordinary cat. Overall, it’s quite a cute story, but I found it lacking in a few crucial areas. I’ll give it four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.