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The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross: (From the Casebooks of Jesperson & Lane) - Lisa Tuttle

Miss Di Lane was a small non-threatening woman that the stranger yelled witch at then he fell over and died. His face froze in terror. Jasper Jespersen was her partner P I. Their office was in Jasper's home and Lane lived there also with Jasper and his mother.  The man had pounded on the door a couple minutes before. The man’s name was Charles Manning.  Jespersen was not satisfied with the natural cause ruling on Mr, Manning’s death. So then they found Charles brother Alexander and Jespersen and Lane both went to Alexander’s home explained why they were not satisfied with the cause of death and why. Alexander hired them to find out what really  happened to Charles. Alexander told them his brother Charles had an obsession  with what he called “ the old religion”, witchcraft, pagan mumbo jumbo, the supposed  ancient mysteries of Britain. Alexander said his brother Charles was a poet, a dreamer whose soul yearned for mystery and adventure Charles couldn’t find in the workday world. Alexander also told Jespersen Charles had quit his job at the bank and moved to Aylmerton. Charles had become an obsessed follower of Felix Ott who promoted the ancient religion - a mishmash of superstition and sorcery , everything a civilized person would find abhorrent - black magic, devil worship, and human sacrifice.  Jaspersen and Lane went to Aylmerton and stayed at the Vicar’s where Charles had lived. Dr. Ringer was the Vicar informs Jasper they had  three other mysterious deaths in the parish. Charles had become engaged to Ann who was rumored to be a witch as were her sisters Bella and Alys. Bella is responsible for her half sisters Ann and Alys. In Bella's library is a grimoire with magical attributes ascribed to it. And a number of people want it. With the possibility of Charles having been poisoned - as everyone said Charles was a healthy young man. There were a lot of suspects including a male witch. Then the baby of the maid comes up missing.

This was a very good read. I like Lane and Jespersen as a team of P I they do complement each other.  I also liked how the team went to Alexander about their doubts on the natural causes ruling and Alexander hired them. This did drag for me at times. This book included : fairies, deaths, a missing baby, witches, witchcraft, magic, spells elves, mystery, intrigue, suspense, and so much more. I did love the characters and the twists and turns and I recommend.