I love the happy accident that was Strange Magic: An Essex Witch Museum Mystery by Syd Moore. A patron dropped this book (and the next one I'm reviewing) at the circulation desk and the covers (and her effusions of pleasure) led me to checking them out for myself. This is the first in a series about (you guessed it) mysteries at the Essex Witch Museum. Our protagonist, Rosie Strange, has just inherited the museum from her deceased grandfather and she has plans for its renovation and immediate selling. (Rosie is immediately characterized as a no nonsense take charge lady.) However, soon after meeting the somewhat pompous curator, Sam Stone, she finds herself embarking on a search for the lost remains of an accused witch from the 16th century. [A/N: The accused witch they seek named Ursula Cadence is based off of an actual woman from this time period and location in Essex named Ursula Kemp who was accused, tried, confessed, and hanged for the crime of witchcraft.] Why the urgency to find these bones? Well, a little boy possessed by the son of the dead woman is losing the fight against the spirit within and the bones hold the key to his exorcism. No biggie. It's obvious that Moore has done her research on the history of witches and witchcraft in Essex because a ton of facts are thrown at the reader in this little volume (and I'm sure that's why it's spawned a series). But this isn't high brow literature by any means so please don't be deterred from giving this a shot. If you liked the nonfiction book Witches then you'll probably dig this historical fiction/mystery as it's based on true events and discusses how occult practices still occur today. It had been a while since I delved into the supernatural and I enjoyed my time with these characters so I'm sure there'll be a future review of the sequel Strange Sight. 7/10 for Strange Magic.
What's Up Next: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
What I'm Currently Reading: I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara