Cover Image: A Spell of Murder (A Lost Maidens Loch Mystery Book 1)

A Spell of Murder (A Lost Maidens Loch Mystery Book 1)

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Scottish Paranormal Cozy Mystery
This book is the first in a new series; Lost Maidens Mysteries. The plot was just wonderful with just enough paranormal elements to get the reader in the spirit. The crime ended up being complex with hidden motivations. This looks like it will be a great series. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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Title:  A Spell of Murder
Author:   Kennedy Kerr 
Genre:  Mystery, fantasy
Rating:  4.0

Love’s Curiosities Inc. is a small shop full of odds and ends and curiosities that most people overlook. Temerity Love and her sister Tilda grew up there and now own it. Things have changed a bit since their parents owned the shop but magic still happens there. Tilda is a witch and Temerity is renowned for her ability to touch objects and see where they came from.

When a local schoolteacher is murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, an antique hand mirror is found nearby, and the local investigator asks for Temerity’s help finding the murder. Too bad his new protegee, grumpy out-of-towner Angus isn’t so open-minded. As Temerity starts asking questions, she’s determined to find out who killed the schoolteacher—with or without the help of the townspeople. 

I really enjoyed this cozy mystery mixed with magic! The characters are unique and quirky, and the town was vibrantly alive, filled with a sense of history and stories lurking around every corner. The writing is solid, and I just sort of settled into this novel and enjoyed it.

Kennedy Kerr is an author with a love of all things Scottish. A Spell of Murder, the first book in the Lost Maidens Loch Mysteries, is her new novel.

(Galley courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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Sisters, Temerity and Tilda Love, run Love's Curiosities in the small, sleepy village of Lost Maidens Loch. Their shop sells antiques, which may or may not bewitched. As Temerity is having a nice cup of tea and homemade scone at the local tea shop, The Singing Kettle, she hears that a teacher at the local school has died suddenly. Molly Bayliss was poisoned right in the teacher's lounge after school ended for the day. Temerity offers her special gifts to help the local law officers solve the crime. Who killed Molly? Was it another teacher or someone who felt she had wronged them? As Temerity digs deeper into Molly's life, she learns many secrets that the small town has been hiding. Can she solve the crime before she puts herself or those she loves in further danger?

A Spell of Murder is a great cozy murder with a bit of witchery and a little light romance. I quite enjoyed the endearing and lovable characters, the descriptions of the beautiful Scottish lands, and the suspenseful storyline. Great book to pick up this October around Halloween!
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A Spell of Murder is great cozy mystery. It has some interesting characters and storyline. It is well written and the characters are well developed.
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My thanks to Bookouture for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘A Spell of Murder’ by Kennedy Kerr in exchange for an honest review. It was published on 3rd October.

This is the first in her Lost Maidens Loch Mysteries set in Scotland featuring sisters Temerity and Tilda Love, who run Love’s Curiosities, Inc, a little shop full of oddities. The shop was established by their parents, both who had been occultists. Temerity had the gift of psychometry and is highly regarded in the antiques world for her ability to establish the provenance of object.

When a local schoolteacher is murdered a magical object is found next to her body and the sisters become involved in determining whodunnit as well as why.

This was a brilliant witchy cosy mystery made even more so due to it being grounded in real witchcraft and occultism rather than the usual fantasy type of witchy cosy. While I enjoy these it was refreshing to discover an author taking this more grounded approach.

 I only realised after reading that I had previously read and reviewed (5 stars) her fantasy novel, ‘Queen of Sea and Stars’ also published by Bookouture under the name of Anna McKerrow. I wrote then that the author clearly had a solid background in witchcraft. 

I also loved the sisters’ pets/familiars and the eccentric town folk. Then there is the yummy newcomer to the local police force, Constable Angus Harley. Temerity’s inner dialogue about him constantly cracked me up.

Full marks to Kennedy Kerr for this delightful whodunnit. I can hardly wait for Book Two and getting to know the Love sisters and other residents of Lost Maidens Loch. 

Highly recommended.
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Sometimes you pick up & book and from the start you are totally into it. That was the case for me & 'A Spell of Murder'. Tilda & Temerity Love run a rather esoteric shop in the Scottish village of Lost Maidens Loch. Tilda is mostly concerned with the ancient book side, whist Temerity sells curios & is a recognised expert on psychometry, being called in Internationally to provide provenance for articles. They are both what one might call 'white witches' & keep the rituals they had been taught by their parents. When a teacher in the local school is murdered the local inspector calls on Temerity's skills, much to the surprise of the new policeman. The search for the killer reveals some surprises for the locals.

Kennedy Kerr has painted a wonderful picture of this community & its inhabitants. Once the setting & characters had been established the story moved up a gear & kept the page turning. I loved this book & can't wait to meet these characters again soon.
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At first I didn't think I was going to like this book because of the witch/occult/black magic slant but in actual fact there's not too much of this and it is very gentle. Instead I fell in love with Temerity Love of Love  Curiosities Inc. and the small Scottish village Lost Maidens Loch. The characters were well portrayed and reading this book was just as the title 'cozy mysteries' suggests. It was like putting on a warmed pair of slippers, wearing a fluffy jumper and snuggling up in a fireside armchair. It did remind me of the Agatha Raisin series that I used to devour. Very easy, pleasant reading that still has a storyline and plenty of sleuthing to detect who the murderer is.
Like some people indulge in TV/film box sets, I will definitely read the next in this series if Kennedy Kerr writes a second.
Oh, and if you want to know the plot line, it involves death by poisoning, a Laird of the Manor, a new Police Constable as Temerity's love interest and some witchcraft. Who poisoned Molly Bayliss, school teacher, how is she connected to Liz, the housekeeper at the Manor and is this purely about inheritance or a love spell that goes wrong? Read and find out!
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I feel the beginning of a great series!

Remote Scottish village, close connection to the land and witchcraft, handsome police officer....

A teacher is murdered in Lost Maidens Loch and it is up to Temerity Love world famous for her ability to find lost things and work out their history to help the police.
Great
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This is the "maiden" book for this new cozy series and I think is most becoming! The Love sisters and their interestingly named pets are wonderfully different and fully embrace their witch heritage and even better is that their sleepy Scottish town fully embraces it. Temerity has the gift of psychometry and Tilda is gifted with the ability to brew up something to fix that which/witch ails you. So needless to say, Temerity is handy to have around when you need to know where an item came from or who it is associated with such as the black scrying mirror with the thistle motif. The only one who doesn't seem to get how important Temerity is to the investigative process is new arrival, Constable Angus Harley, sent to take over for soon to retire Investigator Kim Hyland. A murdered teacher, a stalking co-worker, a disgruntled roommate, a shifty seeming maid, and all sorts of secrets and portent to be sifted through. Temerity is trying to avoid distraction while working with the new Constable and I especially like the one sided conversations she has in her head with the "Wolfman". I literally laughed out loud every time. It can be hard to let go of the past and move onto the future but this might just be what Temerity needs. Hope this is the start of many more books to come!
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If there’s one thing I like doing it’s discovering new authors.  Kennedy Kerr is definitely a new author for me and judging by how much I enjoyed reading ‘A Spell Of Murder’, I can guarantee that I will be reading more of her work in the future.  I read the synopsis for ‘A Spell Of Murder’ and it certainly sounded like the quirky kind of read that I love to read every once in a while.  It reminded me a bit of the Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy that I loved to read back when I was a child all those decades ago.  I now feel old but I digress so back to the review I do go.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Spell Of Murder’ but more about that in a bit.
It didn’t take me long at all to get into this book.  From the moment I started reading until the moment I closed the back cover, I was completely under the book’s spell (pardon the pun).  It was as if the book had a hold over me and it was a hold that I didn’t want to break.  I initially picked the book up only expecting to read the first couple of chapters to get a feel for the story and to get used to a new author’s writing style but I was enjoying the book so much that I ended up reading far more than a couple of chapters.  I was swept away by the story and by how well I took to the quirky characters.  I tried to ration how much I read in one go so I could prolong my enjoyment of the book but the attempt at rationing was thrown out of the window because I was enjoying the book so much that I just couldn’t put the book down.  The book wasn’t exactly glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it travelled everywhere with me.  I binge read the book over the course of a couple of days and I was most disappointed when I reached the end of the book.  I was enjoying the storylines, the characters and the author’s writing style so much that I just didn’t want the book to end.  I soon cheered up when I realised that ‘A Spell Of Murder’ is actually the first book in a new series.  Hurrah more fantastic tales involving Tilda and Temerity Love.
‘A Spell Of Murder’ is exceedingly well written.  The author has one of those writing styles that draws you into the story and by the time you reach the end of the book you feel as though you have been a part of the story yourself.  That’s how I felt at any rate.  Yes I know this book is fiction and not real but I find that if I enjoy a book as much as I enjoyed ‘A Spell Of Murder’ I get far too involved in books that I enjoy and I tend to ‘live’ the story as if it were real.  For me, ‘A Spell Of Murder’ is the definition of a real page turner.  I was gripped by this story throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the story.
In short, ‘A Spell Of Murder’ is a mighty fine start to what promises to be a fantastic series.  On the strength of ‘A Spell Of Murder’ I would definitely recommend this book and this author to other readers.  I can’t wait to read more in the Tilda & Temerity Love series.  Here’s hoping that we don’t have too long to wait.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
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What better way to start October than curling up with a cozy witchy read! A Spell of Murder is the first book in the Lost Maidens Loch Mystery series. This was my first book in this genre and won't be my last! This book was as advertised - a magical and unputdownable whodunnit! 

Temerity and Tilda Love are Lost Maiden Loch's resident witches and proprietors of Curiosities Love Inc. a shop specializing in rare antiques. Temerity with the gift of provenance and Tilda specializing in herbs and potions live the perfect life with their cats Scylla, Chabardis and quirky macaw Hebrides. Both sisters with personalities that are poles apart are loved and respected by all the people in their cozy town. So when a local school teacher is found dead on a busy day at school by apparent poisoning, Temerity Love's provenance skills are called upon by the town Inspector to help solve the mystery. Miss Molly Bayliss was new to Lost Maiden's Loch but was not liked well by her peers. Soon rumors of affairs and unrequited love start floating around and Temerity finds herself in the middle of a complex case that even her witchy skills cannot decode. There's a lot of dark magic at play and to add to the drama, Temerity finds herself drawn to Angus Harley the latest recruit for the town police with the social skills of a wolf. Temerity and Angus's unusual partnership takes them to from the Loch to the eccentric Laird's spooky mansion. But will they solve the crime in time before more bodies fall?

All characters of this book - both human and animal are a delight to read about. However, more than Temerity I found myself drawn to the character of Tilda more. I also liked the plot of this one and that is not a simple whodunnit but layered with twists, intrigue and light suspense. I had hoped for something more "witchy" with more spells, potions and magical artifacts so here's hoping I'll see more of it in the next books to come. This book gives us a glimpse into the Loves' childhood but I'm eager for more and to see what sort of bond the Sr. Loves' had with each other and their children. A spell of murder was a great start to this fantastic new series I'll keep my eyes peeled for!

Thank you NetGalley, Bookouture and Kennedy Kerr for an arc!
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This is a great start to a new series. 
It’s a magical crime thriller set in a little Scottish village with sisters, Temerity and Tilda at its centre. 
A body is found and alongside it is an antique hand mirror. 
Temerity can sense things from items and gets the impression that something dark is linked to the mirror. 
The victim is a school teacher but the local Police have no idea where to start. 
Temerity and her sister have inherited their gifts from their parents and Temerity is asked to help with the investigation. 
Newcomer, Angus is sceptical about Temerity’s gift At first but is also intrigued. 
As the investigation gets underway the story really comes into its own and I loved the way it was all pulled together at the end. 
This is a great read that had me racing through the pages to find out the identity of the killer. 
Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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A Spell of Murder was my first cozy mystery, but it certainly won’t be my last. I already can’t wait for the next book in the Lost Maidens Loch series. 

Temerity Love and her sister Tilda are the resident witches of their small Scottish town. The legend says that the loch takes a victim ever few years, but this time around, the loch isn’t the culprit. 

Local police enlist Temerity and her special gift to help solve the mystery. 

I loved this book. I never knew I needed cozy mysteries in my life, but here I am! The characters were all well-developed, even the furry and feathered characters. 

I really enjoyed Temerity and Tilda’s relationship and their quirky personalities. I felt like I was a bit of a mix of them both. I also enjoyed the slight romantic aspects and the chemistry between Temerity and Angus. It wasn’t overbearing in the least, but instead, a welcome addition to the story. 

Easily five stars. Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Witches. Small town. Cozy mystery. Yes please!

   Kennedy Kerr has crafted a spellbinding cozy mystery. Two witches, A murder, a little magic, a little humor, and a lot of fun! The book takes place in the small town of Lost Maidens Loch Scotland this was the perfect backdrop for this atmospheric mystery with a touch of magic. After the murder of a local teacher the new constable Angus Harley calls upon Temerity for some supernatural help. Temerity is able to divine things after touching objects; where they came from, who they belong to, and the emotions involved. Harley is skeptical at first that is until Temerity proves him wrong. This is a relationship I am excited to see develope over the course of the series. Temerity’s sister Tilda was also a colorful character who I am looking forward to getting to know even better, I also liked her parent and his wise words. The mystery was compelling and plausible and kept me guessing. This was an excellent start to what looks like an entertaining new cozy mystery series. The characters were well-developed, the mystery was well plotted, and the setting was atmospheric The witch craft was threaded throughout the story, but very understated. I think this is a mystery that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good story. Can’t wait to see what’s next for this small Scottish village.

This book in three emojis: 🧙🏻‍♂️ 🔮 🦜
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I read this as a free copy from Bookouture via NetGalley, in return for an unbiased review. It’s billed as a witchy cosy mystery, and it delivers exactly that - but manages to avoid some of the frustrating tropes you sometimes encounter with the cosy genre, which is refreshing. Yes, you have Temerity helping solve the crime herself - but together with the police, a mutually respectful and helpful relationship, not the “lead female uses the police to get clues, but doesn’t share anything she finds, then accidentally stumbles onto the answer, nearly dies and is rescued by the police who were considered too stupid to work with”, kind of set up. And you have Temerity and Constable Harley, which again - could have fallen into the tired old “fight too much because they like each other” format... but doesn’t. The mental conversations she has with herself about him being raised by wolves are entertaining. Overall the book was good - lets the reader see some bits about magic and characters, without constantly bashing us over the head by repeating them (OK maybe a few less “gods” would have been nice - I get it, she has multiple gods/goddesses), but that’s minor compared to some cosy mysteries.

A solid first novel and I’d definitely want to read more by Kerr.
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What a fun new series! We follow Temerity Love as she uses her magic to help the local law enforcement deduct what happened in the death of a school teacher new to Lost Maidens Loch. Temerity has the ability to hold objects and get a sense of their history and thus give insight into who may have been involved in the murder.  I also loved that Temerity and her sister Tilda's magic is both natural and learned, we get to see how practicing witchcraft affects their perception in the town and social lives. I especially enjoyed her interactions with the new to town officer Angus. The small town Scottish setting is charming and the over all mysteriousness of the town and its loch will surely add to the series. Looking forward to the next installment.
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I’m a huge fan of cozy mysteries and since this is a witchy cozy mystery I am all for it. This was a fun read that stood out from the rest because of the subject matter and the fun characters but also was lackluster because of some of the writing. Less is definitely more and show and not tell will definitely benefit the author in future installments of this series.

This was a cute, mythical ride however and I can see it thriving in the future and it definitely fits the halloween Spooky mood.
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Alright, let’s be honest here. How many of you choose to read a book solely based off of the cover? No cheating by looking at the synopsis. Just the cover. Well, that’s how I was going into this book. Witch on the cover. Sold. I hadn’t even read a cozy mystery before, but I needed to read this one.

A Spell of Murder takes place in the quaint, small town of Lost Maidens Loch, which is located in the Scottish Highlands. Temerity Love runs her family shop, Love’s Curiosities Inc, which specializes in antiques. Temerity is gifted with the ability to know the exact origin and history of any object that she touches. This makes her expertise coveted amongst the community of antique experts. She lives with her sister Tilda, who also possesses supernatural abilities.

One day, the body of a local school teacher is discovered in the staff break room. When an antique mirror is also found near the body, the local law enforcement decide to call in Temerity to use her gifts to help solve the murder mystery. Unfortunately, the new constable, Angus Harley, is not quite sold on Temerity’s abilities, and the two of them must find a way to work things about before another cold body turns up.

This was such a fun and exciting read. Something that I didn’t appreciate about cozy mysteries, which is vastly different from most thrillers that I read, is that the tone of the book is much more light hearted even though there’s a mystery to be solved. There’s more time to see the characters in their natural element versus the adrenaline pumping that I’m used to. I think this author did a fantastic job of setting up the series, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley to providing an eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
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This was a pretty hard one for me as I knew what my rating was going to be until the last quarter of the book.

I want to start off with the good things about this book.

1. I found the plot to be really interesting and engaging. This was the main factor of why I continued with this book as I had a big desire to find out who the murderer was and I was satisfied with who it was.

2. I really enjoyed the use of Termerity's psychometry powers it was a really unique twist to a murder mystery I thought it was done super well. I also felt it was used well throughout the book, there was an equal spread of using the gift not just in the beginning and then forgotten about so I was happy with that.

3. I think the detail in the world-building of Lost Maidens Loch and how Kerr described the buildings was done really well and I could easily picture all the places mentioned.

That being said I must give you the reasons for my 2-star review.

1. Sticking on the theme of detail, I do think it was done really well for the world-building and interior description of buildings but I felt that it was used to much in other areas. There was a lot of description of what characters wore, which I felt was good to establish what the character looked like and explained a bit about their personality. But this detail was carried on through the entire novel and it just got boring. I would skip entire sections of the book as I didn't want to read about what quirky outfit the MC was wearing during that scene. This amount of detail which most of the time did not add anything to the plot would just slow the pace down and make me not want to pick it back up.

2. There was a lot of instances where the writer tells us what was happening rather than showing us, this slowed the pace down and made it hard to read. We are told that Termerity and the Inspector have a great relationship but every time he makes a joke to her the writer feels the need to follow up and say that he was joking even though it was obvious to the reader he was. Or it was obvious she is checking a character out but the writer needs to solidify with the reader she was in fact, checking that character out. It pulled me out of the story a couple of times.

3. I liked Termerity I thought she was a fun character but he inner monologue got quite cringey at times. Especially, when she referred to a character as wolf-man, it started off funny but then got dragged out quite a bit and I really struggled by the end of the novel with some of her comments.

I felt the last quarter really flipped the script and I was really engaged but it was not enough for me to bump up my rating.
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A Spell of Murder is a really enjoyable, well written murder mystery with very likeable characters and a touch of magic. Temerity Love and her sister Tilda are the resident witches in the tiny town of Lost Maidens Loch  in the Scottish highlands where they live with two cats and a macaw with a personality. While Tilda specialises in herbs and spells, Temerity is able to tell the provenance of an object by touching it and has often been called in by the local police inspector to help in cases where she can get some useful information from a victim's belongings. 

When a local teacher is found dead after drinking poisoned tea, Temerity is asked to have a look at the scene where she gets some strange visions. A new Constable, the silent and taciturn Angus Hawley, at first doesn't believe in Temerity's gift but soon starts to learn otherwise. Temerity has a great time imagining amusing conversations with him in her head but soon finds a growing attraction for this awkward young man. With a few twists and turns, the murder is solved in a credible way and made for a great start to this new series. I hope to enjoy visiting Lost Maidens Loch again soon.
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