11 Jul 2020


Death By Curiosity
ISBN 979-8606511921

Everyone knows that witches aren't real.

And yet when the sleepy village of Habely is rocked by a series of bizarre murders and James Pettyfer is arrested after being caught whilst disposing of the bodies, he claims that he was made to do it by Elodia Knight - a lady who's capable of magic and can get into other people's souls.

Whilst everyone else is sceptical of the claims, Police Typist Armitage Black is nothing but intrigued. Ignoring the reprimands of her best friend and the  Detectives investigating the case, Armitage delves into her own enquiries - but as she becomes more involved, she finds herself locked in a battle of wit and determination that Knight will do anything to win.
- Back Cover Blurb


Probably a controversial opinion, but I'm going to say it anyway.
- First Sentence Two Paragraphs

She stared at me for a smidge longer. Then she glanced at the staircase. Then she flicked her eyes back at me, looking slightly exasperated and slightly grim. 'Fine. But not a word of this, Tidge, I swear to God.'

We shuffled him forwards by a couple of steps, glancing around all the time for anyone walking in on us, and as soon as his feet were halfway over the top step, right when it was our last chance to back out and come up with a new plan ... we let go.

(If I'm being honest, Angie actually let go first. But you didn't hear that from me.)

Of course - because this is just the luck we have - the second we let go of Lyme, the second he started to pitch forward, the front door opened and Hadaway and Johnny stomped into the lobby at the foot of the stairs. 

We all froze in place, me and Angie staring at Lyme's fat wobbling as he bounced from step to step, and Hadaway and Johnny also staring at him, looking incredulous as they watched him heading towards them, his blanket getting left behind so that he was back to being full-frontal.
- Memorable Moment, Page unnumbered.

MY THOUGHTS ... OK, one of those books that's going to have many of you shaking your head at the disregard for police procedure (that Armitage is allowed to walk all over a crime scene and carry out investigations as she does, never mind implausible, is quite frankly laughable) but then Death By Curiosity really isn't that type of a crime story ... and it really doesn't matter as ...

As as a what, a thriller, a cosy mystery? Label it what you will, the plot involves what may or may not involve witchcraft (as if I'm going to tell you, you'll have to read the book and discover that for yourselves) what does matter is ... 

One of my favourite reads of the year; whilst I don't do star ratings here on Pen and Paper, for the sites requiring it, I rated it ★★★★★ which just goes to show how much I enjoyed it.

Its ... 

❃ Entertaining
❃ Different. Think Sherlock Holmes ... and yet not (it has far too much humour for that). I guess I'm thinking that like say The Hound Of The Baskervilles this too has a sinister undertone which may or may not be as it at first seems
❃ Funny
❃ Full of quirky, I'm guessing what Americans might call kooky, characters. Armitage is just the kind of character I love; larger than life, I adored her witty asides, she's curious (some would say nosy), determined, feisty, sassy, resourceful, she has nine lives ... and then some. Its secondary characters ... Hmm! Whilst not exactly awarded the star billing as that given to Armitage, its 'secondary' characters are actually far from secondary. Armitage's best friend Angie is kind of the sane one (relatively speaking) of the two friends (a restraining hand if you will though for the main part she may as well have saved her breath). The two detectives, Hadaway and Johnny (Angie's boyfriend) are likewise best friends and make great foils for Armitage. Not that this was their only purpose, they, Hadaway (who may or may not be Armitage's love interest) in particular, are great characters in their own right. And as for the villain of the piece; Elodia Knight, far from the pantomime like baddie I half expected (her crimes are, well, a tad too gory for that) actually made for a great villain who, right up until the end, kept us guessing as to both her motives and just how she was carrying out the evil deeds 
❃ A page turner, its certainly not without action ... or suspense for that matter
❃ Got a romantic element; thankfully not one of those so-called 'instalove' affairs but rather one of those in which the characters seemingly have a healthy dislike of each other and yet you just know that isn't the case.

This case may well be summed up nicely BUT, with a lady thinking she is being haunted, I have a strong inkling that this isn't the last we have heard of Armitage and co ... I'm certainly hoping not.

SUMMED UP IN A SENTENCE ... A memorable read and for all the right reasons; perfect if your looking for a mystery that doesn't take itself too seriously.

My thanks to the author, Lisa Matthews, for supplying me with a paper copy of her novel.

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Brian Joseph said...

It sounds different. In this age of cookie cutter books that is a very good thing. Do you think that the book can be changed at all so that it were more realistic?

Felicity Grace Terry said...

To be honest Brian, I actually wouldn't want it changed as for me personally the very fact that it isn't realistic is what makes it such fun. As for whether or not it could be changed ... I'm not a writer but I'm guessing so. However, this would make it a very different book.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I just added it to my GR list. It sounds like a fun read!

Kelly said...

Well I'm glad this one was such a hit for you. Despite your glowing review (and the cover, which I like), there is something about this that turns me off a bit. Still trying to work that out in my mind...

nightwingsraven said...

I am glad that you enjoyed this
book so very much. As you said
in your review that this book
is different, entertaining and
has quirky characters, which piqued
my curiosity. But I will keep it
in mind.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

This sounds quite good! I might have to give it a try :)

DMS said...

Well this sounds like a winner! Sometimes books can be just so entertaining that we don't care about the little bits that might not be right (walking around a crime scene etc.). Your review has me wanting to read this one. Thanks for sharing. :)