The first book by Angela M. Sanders in a new series of cozy mysteries, Bait and Witch, balances the paranormal fantasy and charm of a small town.
Josie Way had her dream job at the Library of Congress, but had to quit after hearing a conversation reporting on political corruption. She’s essentially creating a do-it-yourself witness protection program by taking a job at the rural library in Wilfred, Oregon, hoping to remain discreet until things unravel in Washington, D.C.She barely unpacked her bags when a body was discovered on the library grounds, and her concern that she might be the target prompts her to investigate. Oh, and the books on the shelves of Wilfred’s library? You are able to talk to him—no big deal.
Sanders fills the town of Wilfred with eccentric residents and mixes in a plot on the property of the library, which will be sold and possibly converted into a retreat center. All these elements collide when Jose’s life in the East catches up with them. However, the real gist of the story comes from Jose’s gradual discovery that she is a witch. Whether it’s about quickly becoming a close friend with a local cat or developing an ability to recommend books she’s never read or even heard of, Bait and Witch is playful but grounded in the earth and sets up a final confrontation when the decision to reject or embrace her powers is critical.
Sanders ‘ light touch leaves many possibilities for future Josie stories. There is a romance that is potential cooking on the back burner, so the commitment of Josie to stay and help bring you the library of Wilfred in the modern era, without divesting longtime customers. More evocative, Bait and Witch ends with Josie taking her grandmother’s grimoire, or spellbook, and preparing to learn more about her powers. Some of us think that all librarians are at least a bit wizards (in the best way), but it is a pleasure to read about someone whose powers come in part from the stories and feelings that readers attach to them. It’s a good start that promises more book fun.