Nora Pennington is known for her window displays, and as Halloween approaches, she decides to showcase fictional heroines like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Madeline Miller’s Circe. A family-values group disapproves of the magical themes, though, and wastes no time launching a modern-day witch hunt. Suddenly, former friends and customers are targeting not only Nora and Miracle Books, but a new shopkeeper, Celeste, who’s been selling CBD oil products.
Nora and her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society are doing their best to put an end to the strife—but then someone puts an end to a life. Though the death is declared an accident, the ruling can’t explain the old book page covered with strange symbols and disturbing drawings left under Nora’s doormat, a postcard from an anonymous stalker, or multiple cases of vandalism.
The only hope is that Nora can be a heroine herself and lead the Secret, Book, and Scone Society in a successful investigation—before more bodies turn up and the secrets from Celeste’s past come back to haunt them all . . .
This series has become a source of comfort for the past couple of years, so it felt nice to be back in this world, especially at a time when I wasn’t feeling that good.
Along with the lovely ladies of the Secret, Book and Scone society, we get to briefly meet some new additions to the town of Miracle Springs – ladies who manage to bring some intrigue as well as conflict to the proceedings. While I enjoyed the depiction of fall season and the various festivals that happen in a small town to attract tourists, I sometimes felt that the mystery itself was a bit far fetched. The addition of the conflict with the family values group also felt a bit too much to this story, though it’s not really an uncommon occurrence in many places. But it did make for some interesting conversations about powerful women and the importance of books in giving us access to new worlds. The pacing of the book was as always very fast and I finished it in a single sitting. I also liked the talk about YA fantasy as part of the book recommendations, but it was woefully white which is a disappointment, particularly considering the amount of popular diverse YA we’ve had in the past few years.
In the end, this was a fun addition to a beloved series and definitely a cozy winter read. Definitely recommend to anyone who is looking for something fun in the cozy mystery genre, and while I would suggest to start at the beginning, I think this is one series where most of the books work well as standalones.
PS: Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.