A wisecracking magic-shop owner turns sleuth to exonerate a friend from a murder rap.
Sassy first-person narrator Alanis McLachlan, who has recently inherited the White Magic Five and Dime from her mother, unfolds the story of Marsha Riggs, who's such a regular client of the shop that her angry husband, Bill, has to physically drag her out of the place in the middle of one of her frequent tarot readings. Turns out that Marsha has a restraining order against her husband, and right after they leave, Alanis calls the police. It's only a hop-skip for Alanis to drive by the Riggs house and then check on Marsha at the motel she currently calls home. Everything changes when an early phone call from crusty Detective Burby of the local police department informs Alanis that Bill Riggs is dead. Naturally, she feels a duty to investigate. She finds many clues at the Riggs home and, maybe more important, finds that she loves being a sleuth.
Even if the mystery is fairly standard, Alanis' sophomore adventure (The White Magic Five and Dime, 2014) is delightfully quirky. As a bonus, several informative tarot readings are embedded in the narrative, and each chapter begins with a pertinent card and quotation.