Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Hydra
Date of publication: November 28th, 2017
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Number of pages: 314
POV: 1st person
Series: The Curious Affair of
The Somnambulist and the Psychic Theif – Book 1
The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross – Book 2
Where you can find The Curious Affair of The Witch at Wayside Cross: Barnes and Noble | Amazon
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
The paranormal answer to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Jesperson and Lane are turning the Victorian era upside down in this bewitching series from John W. Campbell Award winner Lisa Tuttle.
“Witch!” cries the young man after stumbling unexpectedly into the London address of the consulting-detective partnership of Mr. Jasper Jesperson and Miss Lane. He makes the startling accusation while pointing toward Miss Lane . . . then he drops dead. Thus begins the strangest case yet to land—quite literally—on the doorstep of Jesperson and Lane.
According to the coroner, Charles Manning died of a heart attack—despite being in perfect health. Could he have been struck down by a witch’s spell? The late Mr. Manning’s address book leads Jesperson and Lane to the shrieking pits of Aylmerton, an ancient archaeological site reputed to be haunted by a vengeful ghost. There they sift through the local characters, each more suspicious than the last: Manning’s associate, Felix Ott, an English folklore enthusiast; Reverend Ringer, a fierce opponent of superstition; and the Bulstrode sisters, a trio of beauties with a reputation for witchcraft.
But when an innocent child goes missing, suddenly Jesperson and Lane aren’t merely trying to solve one murder—they’re racing to prevent another.
Trigger Warning: Talk of rape
The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross is the 2nd book in the Curious Affair of series. If you have read this blog long enough, you know my thoughts on picking up books out-of-order in a series. I won’t go into it but I do get aggravated because I am missing out by not reading the first book. The Curious Affair of the WItch at Wayside Cross can be read as a stand-alone. Which made me happy.
The book starts off in a very interesting way. A man turns up at Jesperson and Lane’s office/house, accuses Lane of being a witch and then drops dead. This starts off a case that was very weird, to say the least. They are soon asked by the deceased man’s brother to look into his death. The brother wants to know why a healthy man would die of a heart attack. Through some detective work, they end up in Norfolk. It is there that the mystery deepens. While investigating the death, Lane and Jesperson get involved in a kidnapping of a newborn. How are the two tied together, if they are at all? Will Jesperson and Lane solve Mr. Mannings death? Or are they in over their head?
I couldn’t get a feel for Lane. She seemed nice enough. I couldn’t connect with her. Not enough background was given for me to see if I liked her or not (see, this is where reading book 1 comes in handy). She did seem like she was a good detective. She also bucked the norm for Victorian England. She cohabited with an unmarried man. That was a serious no-no back then and I loved it!!!
Jesperson reminded me of Sherlock Holmes. He was quirky and went to great lengths to solve the case. I mean, he showed up at the sisters’ house dressed as a hunchback to read a book that they kept in their library. That is genius. I would have liked to see some of the book from his viewpoint. I was happy with what the author showed us. He is the reason this book didn’t get a lower rating.
If I had to have a complaint about the book, it would be that there weren’t enough paranormal elements in the book. I understand that the shrieking pits along with the story of the kidnapped baby was supposed to be on the paranormal side but I wanted more.
I will say that the author did a great job at keeping who the killer was under wraps. She threw out a few red herrings too. I was pretty shocked when it was revealed to be who it was. I was not expecting it.
The end of the book was very good. Everything came together. Like I said above, I was shocked at who the killer was and the motives behind the killings.
The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross was a good read but I couldn’t get into it. I couldn’t connect with the female lead main character. I felt that the paranormal elements were very sparse. But, I did like the male lead. I also felt that the mystery part of the book was excellently written. It was those two reasons why I gave the book a 3-star rating.
Will I reread: Maybe
Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe
Age range: Older Teen
Why: mild violence. Other than that, it was a very clean book.
I would like to thank Lisa Tuttle, Random House Publishing Group, Hydra and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross
All opinions stated in this review of The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy*