Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic
Bots and Spammers are routinely purged.
Disclosure: I obtained the Kindle edition of this book on 8 September 2017 when it was offered free on Amazon. I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with her regarding this book or any other matter. I am an author of historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.
The production of this book is clean. I think I found one or maybe two typos, but they weren't important enough to note. There are some grammatical errors, such as using "me" when "I" would have been correct, but again, they weren't numerous enough to affect the actual reading unless you're a grammar dragon like me.
There's just no substance to the story. If you're looking for light entertainment with nothing that will make you really think, then maybe you'll like this. It's not a bad book, and it's not badly written.
So why two stars instead of at least three? Well, a lot of reasons. Spoilers ahead. Sort of.
Jill Gooder is the private investigator in question. She has inherited her agency from her father; both of her parents are deceased. She has a married older sister, but Jill herself is adopted. She tried to find her birth parents, but her birth mother refused any contact. Jill retains some bitterness about this.
Her sole employee at the agency is Mrs. V, the secretary/receptionist. She is an older woman who knits scarves all day. It's revealed later in the book that she works for no pay. Jill apparently doesn't make enough money to pay her. This was never explained and seemed more than just a little odd, since there is no real relationship between Jill and Mrs. V.
Jill also has a cat, one-eyed Winky.
Jill's sister Kathy has two young children. Jill is obsessively - OCD - neat; Kathy and her kids are not. This drives Jill bonkers. Jill can't stand to have two types of biscuits (a.k.a. cookies, as the book is set in England) in the same Tupperware container and literally will not eat them if they've been mixed. Kathy's daughter Lizzie loves Lego.
All very cute and fluffy, as are the later depictions of Jill's birth mother, the witch who comes back as a ghost; Jill's Aunt Lucy, also a witch; Jill's grandmother witch who looks like a classic Hallowe'en witch; and her two witchy cousins who are giggling idiots.
Jill gets a case involving a murder, her first ever murder case. The police are working it, too, but the victim's fiancé hires Jill anyway.
She barely gets started on the case when she gets word that her birth mother is dying and wants to see Jill right away. Jill races to the nursing home, and her mother's last words are "You're a witch." Jill is horrified, insulted, and devastated.
Most of the rest of the book involves Jill's coming to terms with the reality not only of what her mother meant but of what it means to be a witch. And this is where the rating of the story really dropped.
The murder mystery was completely shoved to the background while Jill learned to be a witch. That consisted mostly of learning how to cast spells, and of course the spells were extremely useful to solving the murder, sort of. Like making herself invisible for exactly ten minutes so she could sneak into the police station and get confidential information. The problem was that Jill's original trauma at meeting and then losing her mother within the space of an hour or less, then being told the truth about her being a witch, the denying all of it and being insulted, and finally accepting and enjoying it was just too pat.
Oh, there's some resistance on her part, but overall she gave in so quickly and became so good at spell casting that I just rolled my eyes.
But I think that's what the author intended. This was no The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane or A Discovery of Witches, in which the angst of being a witch is a central part of the characterization. This book is more a background/backstory of "How I Became A Witch Private Investigator" prior to the whole mystery solving thing.
The actual solving of the murder mystery was facile and, frankly, not believable at all. No real clues were presented that would have led Jill to identify the murder and not the police. That was another reason for knocking the rating down. If the mystery was that simple, the police would have taken care of it in a few minutes.
Another weak point was the characterization. None of the players had any depth at all, despite the fact that author Abbott included a lot of detail about them. Jill is OCD, Kathy's a slob, and everyone loves custard creams. To be honest, I think most Nancy Drew stories had more depth of character than this book.
Again, it's not a bad book, but I just didn't like it all that much. Your mileage may vary, and if so, terrific!