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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From the very start, Kennedy Kerr inflicts mild suspicion and wonder into the minds of her readers with A Spell of Murder. The book is filled with small-town drama and gossip, historical mystery, romantic tension, and a balance of detective logic and family magic. While the delightful cover is a bit misleading as to the contents of this first installment of Lost Maidens Loch Mystery series, the types of witchcraft present in the book are anything but disappointing.

Which brings me to Temerity and Tilda Love. The latter is a bit of a shut-in, and is actually outwardly shunned by citizens of the town because of who she is. But she is confident and covets her individuality, and makes it a point to prevent Temerity from losing herself to the past. Tilda is identified as an occultist, which in Kennedy Kerr’s terms means she gains her knowledge and skills through nature, books, and learning, while Temerity is labeled as a mystic because of her strong intuition and visions. They inherited their shop from their now deceased parents, who were also occultists. Their relationship with each other and the town is a central plot point, although more attention is given to Temerity’s power and societal role. She is apparently known around the world by antique dealers and historical organizations, because when she touches an object she can see its past and gain perspective on where and/or who it came from.

This power is fortunately respected by the town’s police inspector, Kim Hyland, who allows her to be involved in the latest mysterious death since a strange mirror was found at the crime scene. Inspector Hyland is a superb character; he effectively balances his calm, inviting, and understanding demeanor with taking his job and the safety of Lost Maidens Loch seriously.

Temerity Love’s demeanor, on the other hand, is more obnoxious than not. Her infatuation with other people’s appearances is a little astounding; she can’t seem to avoid thinking about Angus’ physique when she’s in his presence, and when Temerity meets the murdered teacher’s roommate she launches into a quick reflection about both of their bodies and how she herself looked in school. It’s all a bit off-putting, and while I think Kennedy Kerr wrote those descriptions in order to build upon our knowledge of Temerity’s character, it didn’t really work in that way.

Temerity also thinks about her lost love, Patrick, quite often. Her grief is understandable and adds a little tension to the “will they or won’t they?” romantic story line between her and Angus, however these musings and others often felt awkwardly placed within the narrative. And most of the time they didn’t add anything more to the story in terms of additional or necessary information – it’s like the author didn’t trust her readers to remember Temerity was dealing with grief and sadness, so she kept adding reminders. Kennedy Kerr did such an effective job at individualizing every other character, that for Temerity’s traits to be written in such a scattered way was a bit puzzling and distracting.

My personal annoyances with Temerity aside, this book did keep me hooked from the very start. Kennedy Kerr can definitely create an affecting atmosphere; with building and house descriptions, weather, and a detailed landscape, the mystical and speculative feelings are consistently present throughout the book. There are a lot of details and sub-plots to keep track of as the mystery unfolds and becomes more complicated, but the story is excellently paced; admirers of whimsical small-town settings, stories involving witchcraft, and well-developed mystery full of drama can come together to enjoy this book. Even my disdain for Temerity didn’t stop me from following the story to the very end to find out what really happened (and why).

There is no word on when the next Lost Maidens Loch mystery will be released, but I will be keeping my eye out because I’m certainly curious to see what happens next in that little town.
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Temerity Love and her sister Tilda live in the small village of Lost Maidens Loch. Temerity is the owner of Love’s Curiosities Inc, a small little shop full of oddities. There is something strange about the sisters though, they aren’t like your ordinary siblings. Temerity is not only an antiques expert, she has a rare magical gift to be able to find lost things and learn their stories. Experts the world over know where to find her to enlist her help. At the same time, her sister Tilda, a rare books dealer, has some powers of her own. She is known as the village herbalist and witch.  And, as any good witch does, they have cats and a large blue parrot. What’s a witch to do without them?!

When local school teacher Molly Bayliss is murdered an antique hand mirror is found on the scene. Because of her expertise in antiques, the local police inspector calls in Temerity to find the story behind the mirror. Why is it there? Did it belong to Molly? Did the killer bring it to the murder scene? It raises more questions than answers. But Temerity is determined to help solve this case, along with her sister Tilda.

It’s unfortunate though that Temerity has to work together with the Lost Maidens Loch’s police constable on duty, Angus Harley. An out-of-towner who’s easy on the eye but a little grumpy, to say the least.

Temerity’s search for the hand mirror’s story leads her to Dalcairney Manor across the loch. The loch she has been avoiding since the day her boyfriend Patrick drowned there and she couldn’t save him. The same loch that is also the reason why Temerity never left Lost Maidens Loch, it’s the only place she still feels connected to Patrick.

But is grumpy Angus really that bad? The more Temerity gets involved with the case the less she seems to mind Angus. He even convinces her to walk around the loch to Dalcairney Manor one night to interrogate the very private Laird and his family. A walk that could make Temerity’s worst fears come true and, at the same time, break this case wide open.

Generally, the Laird keeps to himself and hardly ever comes to the village. Does he know more about this mirror? Could he be hiding something? Or is it just coincidental that an antique hand mirror leads back to a centuries old manor?

Kennedy Kerr created a quaint little village setting with Lost Maidens Loch. The local village people all seem to be a little of the generic small town people kind; while Temerity and Tilda are the odd ones out. Being witches and magical and all.

The overall story line is nice and easy to read. It’s a typical cosy mystery story with a pretty predictable ending. Yet at the same time it makes for a good read in the summer by the pool or on a cold autumn/winter day with a  cup of tea while the snow comes down from the sky or the rain taps against the window.
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This is a fun and easy read, perfect for the Halloween season as it is just the right amount of spooky to get you into the spirit.
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This was such a fun read. I'm quite new to this cosy crime / mystery genre but if this book is anything to go by it's going to be my new favourite thing. I loved the mixture of the intriguing mystery plot with the sprinkling of magic - the two blended perfectly. The cast of characters are all well drawn, I found myself looking forward to carrying on reading so that I could spend more time with them. I'm glad to see that this appears to be the first in a series, I'll definitely pick up any subsequent releases.
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I loved this book! Witches, humor, spells and wonderful plot. I enjoyed this book so much, that I am totally addicted to this author's writing style and creativity!
I loved it!!!
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This is so brilliant! A proper cozy, snuggle up with a blanket in the cold, with a hot chocolate sort of whodunnit!  The characters are brilliant.  Temerity is unusual but kind and thoughtful and has some of the funniest thoughts in her own head (wolf man!)….  Angus is a proper grump, but is there a reason why?  The local townsfolk are fantastic and hilarious – the narrative is written with a Scottish twang which definitely helps you to imagine them and hear their voices!

I also love that this is so witchy! I’m fascinated with witchy stuff and have done lots of my own personal reading into the craft so mixing that with my love of a good fiction novel made this one I couldn’t not love.  I’m also the proud mum to a black cat called Sirius!

The story line is easy to follow, sucks you in and you just want to keep turning the pages to find out who did it!  As well as being sucked in to the mystery, I was 100% willing Temerity and Angus to sort out their lives and get together……but will they?!

I would honestly love to see this as a TV show – I’m thinking Midsommer Murders but with a witchy and magical twist….I think it would be fantastic!  The author does a fabulous job with the descriptions, and I genuinely felt like I was there, listening to the gossips and seeing it all play out in front of me.

This is an absolutely fantastic book, and I’m so glad this is only book 1! I can’t wait to see what else happens in Lost Maiden’s Loch and catch up with Temerity and the wonderful characters again soon!!! (Lost Maiden’s Loch is definitely going to be the new Midsommer…..I don’t think I’d personally move there!).

100% recommended by me!
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Firstly: this review is horribly late and that is all my fault. I’d read it closer to release date and the failing is all mine.  This is a fun and more than slightly irreverent story, set in a small town on a Scottish Loch, with one particular resident who has a shop in a Diagon Ally sort of street. Temerity has a knack for finding lost things, she and her sister run the family business, Love’s Curiosities, Inc.. Her sister Tilda is more ‘traditional’ with her skill as an herbalist, where Temerity can simply touch an object and glean information.  With two cats (how could there be anything else), a macaw with a particular personality, and a host of neighbors who are unique unto themselves.  A nearly perfect setting for a quirky mystery that blends clever twists, a victim and magic to come to fruition. 

Angus Harley is an ‘out of towner’ and rather difficult for everyone to manage. As the local police working with Inspector Kim Hyland, he’s got the murder of a local schoolteacher to solve, although knowing it was a poisoned cup of tea has pointed him in the direction of the Love sisters. The scene, and the fact that the teacher was found at the school with a previously unseen antique hand mirror leave plenty of questions and few answers. 

Kennedy Kerr has built a lovely community and populated it with characters that are unique, clever and distinct. Angus won’t be able to solve the murder without Temerity’s assistance with the mirror – but the two clash and spark off one another with Temerity’s habit of “imagining’ conversations with Angus that have her holding the upper hand: a situation that doesn’t always happen in real time.  Twiss, turns and a reveal that was as clever as it was surprising considering all of the new people who come forward in the story, this was hard to put down and a sure winner for readers who like their cozies with something ‘different’.  A nice mix of place, people and personalities that helped to build the intrigues of the story and set us up for wanting the next one. 

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

Review first appeared at   I am, Indeed 
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  Temerity and Tilda Love are witches.  Many of the residents of their village accept their unusual talents.  Some fear them.  And the old police inspector who is nearing retirement has come to rely on Temerity for her ability to hold an object and learn all sorts of information.  In fact, she is world renowned for her talent but when the new constable comes to town, he is sceptical of things magical.  That is until he sees her skills in action and starts to develop feelings for her.
Romance is not on Temerity’s agenda.  She must help solve the murder of a young school teacher.  As she and the police dig deeper, they find the sisters are not the only ones performing magic in the village.  And whomever it is, this person’s magic is dark.  There is a wonderful array of characters from gossipy townspeople to the Laird and his mother in the big estate to Temerity’s two cats and very vocal bird.  You can almost smell the heather and see the depth of the Loch.
It’s the first book of a new series.  I am looking forward to reading more.  Five purrs and two paws up.
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This is one spooky read , magical and all . And a quick read . I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to read more from reading I think I want to read this series first
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Wonderfully quirky, I loved the world in which Temerity lives with her sister Tilda. Set in Scotland you can just imagine them in the village full of gossips by the loch. The plot was easy flowing and quickly absorbs the reader.
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I read this at Halloween and it did not disappoint. It was fun and funny and spooky and all the good things you want in October. Pick it up!!
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A Spell of Murder by Kennedy Kerr
Book #1: A Lost Maidens Loch Mystery
Source: NetGalley and Bookouture
Rating: 4½/5 stars


Kennedy Kerr welcome to my world and thank you for bringing Lost Maidens Loch and the Love sisters with you!  It’s always a risky proposition starting a new series as new series have a tendency to be difficult to navigate.  Fortunately, all the first in a series pitfalls have been nicely avoided and a very solid first offering has been provided. 

Lost Maidens Loch is a place of mystery, romance, and history.  According to local lore and legend, the loch periodically claims a life and when it does, it becomes even more a part of the legend of the place.  Thanks to the tragedy and the lore, tourists keep the town alive and the money rolling in for locals like Temerity and Tilda Love.  Since the loss of both their parents, the Love sisters have run their family’s curiosities shop with trades in odds and ends related to the occult, the supernatural, rare books, and antiques.  Thanks to the girls’ inherent and learned gifts, their store does rather well for itself and has earned the girls a sound and solid reputation.  

Temerity Love has a reputation as not just an antiques dealer, but a woman with certain gifts.  Thanks to her parents, Temerity has the gift of psychometry which makes for excellent findings related to provenance and antiques and has come in handy on more than one occasion for the local police.  In times related to crime, the local sheriff has called on Temerity more than once to help solve a mystery.  Though Temerity doesn’t particularly enjoy such callings, she always helps where she can and this time, she’s been called to the scene of a murder.  

Though Temerity gets little from the objects found and the scene of the crime, she does get impressions, none of which are explainable or good.  As is her way, Temerity has more questions than answers and she isn’t one to let things go.  As is common in small towns, the gossip is rampant, and Temerity knows just who to ask for the information she needs.  Every answer she gets leaves her more perplexed and takes her ever closer to the large estate that has log been shrouded in mystery and despair.  What’s more, whomever it was that killed the poor woman has worked ever so hard to leave the impression witchcraft in involved and that has Temerity beyond curious.  Before it’s all said and done, Temerity will be tested beyond anything she’s ever known and, in the process, she may discover some new things about herself and her life.  

The Bottom Line: Temerity and Tilda Love and so delightfully weird and wonderful and both are comfortable in their oddness which makes them even more endearing.  Temerity is, by far the more outgoing of the two sisters, but as we discover in this book, she has to work to be so.  Her gifts, though generally accepted, aren’t always understood and that often makes her feel isolated.  Tilda is the nerdy sister who is far less outgoing than her sister and often pays for that thanks to local gossip.  Between the two, they are intelligent, kind, caring, and funny women who doing they best they can to live fulfilling lives.  When you add the setting and the story to the mix of really wonderful characters, you have all the makings of a fine story and that’s exactly what I got.
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A Spell of Murder is the first book in a new paranormal mystery series by Kennedy Kerr. Released 3rd Oct 2019, it's 165 pages and available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. The ebook version includes an interactive table of contents Possibly worth noting for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

This is a nicely written engaging cozy murder mystery with a paranormal twist, the main character does psychometry (occasionally for the police and more often for antiques authenticators) and her sister deals in antique books and scrying. When a local schoolteacher dies from poisoning, main character Temerity helps the local law enforcement (complete with dishy new constable Angus) sort out the less logical aspects of the case.

The plotting is well managed, the characterizations are distinct and obey their internal motivations. I had no trouble keeping track of who was who. Since it's a paranormal cozy, it requires a healthy suspension of disbelief, but the author doesn't abuse that trust. I found it charming and entertaining. The accents for some of the characters  (especially Inspector Hyland and Muriel, the local tea-shop owner and gossip) are distracting, but after a while I got used to them and didn't find them so distracting as written.

It's always fun to find a new author and series to read. I would recommend this one to fans of paranormal cozies with romantic subplots.

Three and a half stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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Witches. Family curses. Poisoned cups of tea. For resident psychic Temerity Love, it’s just another day at the office.
Psychic investigator Temerity Love is just about to take her first bite of a warm buttered scone at The Singing Kettle – the town of Lost Maidens’ best, and possibly haunted, cafe – when the door flies off its hinges to reveal a wind-blown messenger bearing some pretty shocking news: sweet-as-pie local schoolteacher Miss Molly Baliss has been murdered in the teacher’s lounge at break time.
Temerity hurries to the side of Lost Maidens police officer Angus Harley ­– not that she’s exactly welcome there. Angus has no time for professional psychics, especially when they come with an awesome rockabilly wardrobe and a stubborn streak a mile wide. But truth be told, Angus needs help: a spooky black mirror found next to Molly’s body points to a murderer who knows his way around the occult. Lights, camera, action: this is Temerity’s moment to shine.
Temerity knows she won’t rest easy until Molly’s murderer is caught. The thing is, anybody in town – from the town’s new doctor to the sassy maid at the big manor house – could be a suspect… and this time the killer is hiding in plain sight. But how can she catch the culprit when Angus is stepping on her heels at every turn?! He’s just so difficult… and infuriating… and, okay okay, gorgeous (focus, Temerity!). Can this completely unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?

This was a wonderful little witch cozy mystery.
Quick read for me as I couldn't put it down at all.
Very engaging plot and story line with some twists and turns.
Engaging characters that were well fleshed out and fun to follow.
Will be looking for more of these from the author.

I requested and received an Advanced Readers Copy from Booktoure and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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When I first started reading this book, I got the impression that our heroine was a middle-aged woman, but while her age is never given precisely, she is actually much younger in her late twenties early thirties. This isn't an issue and doesn't affect the story, but I would have liked some clarity so I could form my own picture of our heroine. 

Now onto the story itself, I couldn't put this one down, full of twists and turns the murder mystery was so well crafted that I had no idea who the murderer was until the big reveal. It is very rare for me to be surprised at who the murderer is so well done to the author; she really kept it interesting. 

The paranormal elements aren't heavy in the story; they just add an extra something unique to the story. I can't wait to read the next in this series. 

I received an arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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"A Spell of Murder" the first book in the "Lost Maidens Loch Mysteries" by Kennedy Kerr.  Great start to a new series!

In the sleepy town of Lost Maidens Loch, people sometimes disappear…

Down a quiet lane in town sits a little shop full of oddities you’d probably miss if you weren’t looking for it. This is Love’s Curiosities Inc., and its owner, Temerity Love, is sought by experts all over the world for her rare and magical gift: the ability to find lost things and learn their stories.

When Lost Maidens’ pretty local school teacher is found murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, a strange antique hand mirror is discovered nearby. Temerity – with the help of witchy sister Tilda, their cats Scylla and Charybdis and the lovingly eccentric local townspeople – is determined to divine the story behind the mirror and its part in Miss Molly Bayliss’ untimely death.

If only grumpy out-of-towner Angus Harley of Lost Maidens Police wasn’t on the scene. Temerity can’t solve the crime without him, but he’s distracting, and in more ways than one. Can this unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?

The story is set in the small village of Lost Maidens Loch, Scotland where sisters Temerity and Tilda Love, run Love’s Curiosities, Inc, a little shop full of oddities.

This was a fabulous paranormal cosy mystery and as I mentioned previously I loved the sisters’ familiars - cats, Scylla and Charybdis, plus the parrot, Hebrides!. As expected in small town cozies there was quirky villagers, as well as newcomer Constable Angus Harley and will he become Temerity’s love interest?  Temerity’s inner musings about him constantly cracked me up.

As for the mystery it was full of twists, turns which made this a story I did not want to put down nor end ...
I can't wait for book two and getting to know the Love sisters and other residents of Lost Maidens Loch better.

I requested and received an Advanced Readers Copy from Booktoure and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own
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I like cosy mysteries, but I had a hard time with this one. The first third of this book was a struggle. I couldn't get into the story at all and the overly specific descriptions of things like rooms and outfits were starting to get on my nerves. But then it all just clicked, the story picked up pace and I couldn't put it down. 

I liked the supernatural aspects of the novel. Temerity was very logical about her magical skills, and the story didn't only rely on her visions to solve the murder. That meant that the police were actually portrayed as competent (if a bit sceptical about magic), which isn't always the case in stories like this one. 

The balance between murder mystery and romance was just right, and the humour served as a counterbalance to the tragic aspects of the mystery. 

This was the first in a series, with no other books announced as far as I know. I really hope we get more stories featuring Temerity and Angus and the rest of Lost Maidens Loch.
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In the sleepy little town of Lost Maidens Loch we meet sisters Temerity and Tilda Love. Temerity runs Love Curiosities Inc., a little shop selling oddities and where she is well sought after from near and far for her ability to find lost things and learn their stories through her magical gift.

The hub of the little Scottish town is The Singing Kettle where Muriel makes a cracking cup of tea and feeds the tourists and locals with her good Scottish food. It gave me a wee chuckle every time I read about The Singing Kettle and I couldn’t help singing “Spout, handle, lid of metal. What’s inside the singing kettle”. This where Temerity is when she hears of a dead body being found at the school and off she goes to investigate.

Molly Baylis a teacher at Lost Maidens primary school has been murdered and Temerity is asked to help out with her gift but she has an uneasy feeling and things end up being a bit more complicated than first thought and not just with the murder but also Temerity’s private life too.

I really enjoyed getting to know Temerity, she’s a great character and it will be exciting to see her character develop more. Tilda is the quieter sister, I didn’t feel like I got to know her quite as well but she has a great relationship with her sister.

A Spell of Murder is a cracking story, it had me intrigued as I got to know the characters and gripped as I followed the mystery which turned out to be just that, a real mystery. I did have ideas along the way as to the who but I changed my mind a few times and in the end it was a surprise to not only who was the murderer but the why too.

A Spell of Murder is a brilliant start to the series and with its lovely Scottish setting, the real whodunnit mystery and the added humour I’m really looking forward to reading more from Kennedy Kerr soon and I’ll definitely be recommending this.
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A Spell of Murder
(A Lost Maidens Loch Mystery #1)
by Kennedy Kerr

Kindle Edition, 267 pages
Published October 3rd 2019 by Bookouture

Goodreads synopsis:
In the sleepy town of Lost Maidens Loch, people sometimes disappear…

Down a quiet lane in town sits a little shop full of oddities you’d probably miss if you weren’t looking for it. This is Love’s Curiosities Inc., and its owner, Temerity Love, is sought by experts all over the world for her rare and magical gift: the ability to find lost things and learn their stories.

When Lost Maidens’ pretty local school teacher is found murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, a strange antique hand mirror is discovered nearby. Temerity – with the help of witchy sister Tilda, their cats Scylla and Charybdis and the lovingly eccentric local townspeople – is determined to divine the story behind the mirror and its part in Miss Molly Bayliss’ untimely death.

If only grumpy out-of-towner Angus Harley of Lost Maidens Police wasn’t on the scene. Temerity can’t solve the crime without him, but he’s distracting, and in more ways than one. Can this unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?

A magical and unputdownable whodunnit, perfect for fans of Adele Abbott, Amanda M. Lee and Leighann Dobbs.


4 Stars

This is the first book in the Lost Maidens Loch mystery series by Kennedy Kerr.

Temerity Love has the gift to touch things and discover their truths. When a teacher is poisoned, she does her thing and searches the cup for the perfect memory hiding within it. She then uses this to help the police solve the murder.

I enjoyed the dynamic between Angus, the police chief and Temerity Love the psychic. You can tell there is going to be some big spark they will have to contend with one day and I plan to be there to see the fireworks. This story was just a fun ride. I enjoyed all the magical elements and terms used within its pages. 

Once you start reading, you will definitely want to hold out till the end. Great book one and I look forward to many other offerings by this author. A new author for my TBR pile, yay!

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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Very well written. The plot was very clever in that you would guess the culprit but the author has you guessing until the very end.
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