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Bait and Witch: 01/02/21
Bait and Witch by Angela M. Sanders is the start of the Witch Way Librarian mystery series. Josie Way, a Library of Congress cataloger has taken a last minute job in Wilfred Oregon. She and a coworker overheard something they shouldn't have and after giving their depositions, her coworker has gone missing. To avoid the same fate, she's going off grid while pretending to be on vacation to New York.
Wilfred is the unincorporated remains of a once thriving mill town. Like the library in Lighthouse Library mystery series by Eva Gates, the library is in a historic building (the old Wilfred family house) and the librarian has an apartment inside as part of the deal.
On Josie's first full day in Wilfred things start to go awry. She learns her new library job is essentially doomed from the get-go. She also has the misfortune of discovering a body near the library. Josie jumps to the conclusion that the victim was there to kill her.
The basic mystery is fairly straightforward to the attentive reader. If you pay attention figuring out who is the murderer doesn't require any knowledge outside of what's presented.
As the book and series titles imply, though, there is also a magical element. Josie, like Katie Lightfoot of the Magical Bakery mystery series, doesn't know she's a witch at the start of series. She comes into this knowledge and meets her familiar over the course of solving the murder and saving the library. Her magic and how it relates to books and mystery solving is similar to Violet's in the Magical Bookshop mystery series, but ultimately more nuanced and less dependent on regularly timed rituals.
The next book is Seven-Year Witch. It releases on August 24, 2021.