A car burns in the parking lot behind Bella Vita Hair Salon. The corpse in the front seat has a short sword pushed into his ribs. Beneath the car is a cast-iron cauldron filled with flowers. This seems to be a sacrificial rite Rebecca Nurse had been teaching Emlyn Goode. But is it? The corpse has been identified as George Malone, and earlier on this summer solstice day, he and his wife had severe argument. Could it be that Angela Malone has murdered her husband? Prodded by Elvira, an overly-large albino cat that wants the case solved so she can get some sleep, to Rebecca’s dismay Emlyn again dips into her ancient relatives Book of Shadows to find the answer before her friend and neighbor, Detective Roger Fry, can.
When Emlyn Goode’s mother returns to Niagara Falls for a high school reunion, so does murder. During the reunion, a woman’s body is found in the ladies room. Is this killing connected to one that occurred 40 years before in the woods below the town of Lewiston? Harry Woodward, a young police officer working his first murder case suspected Emlyn’s mother of the crime, although there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest her.
Home from a year-long leave, Harry—now the Niagara Falls Chief of Detectives—together with Emlyn’s friend, Detective Roger Frey, investigates the latest killing. Distraught over indications her mother might have been involved in both murders, Emlyn, with her cohort, Rebecca Nurse, sets out to prove otherwise. But, danger lurks in the shadows when amateurs—even ones with witchy skills—get involved with murder.
A rock star’s murder leaves Emlyn Goode questioning everything she knows about herself.
Amanda Stone, a rock and roll icon who vanished at the peak of her career in 1986, has returned to her hometown of Niagara Falls. She brings with her a message that causes Emlyn Goode to question everything she knows about herself. When Stone is murdered, Emlyn must use the craft her ancient relative wrote of in a Book of Shadows to solve the crime. If she fails, she’ll never know if what Stone told her is true.
When his partner is discovered in a frozen alley with eight bullets in his chest, Niagara Falls Police Detective Roger Frey swears vengeance. But Detective Chief Woodward has forbidden him or anyone else on the detective squad to work the case. Emlyn Goode knows Roger will disobey his boss, which will cost him his job and his freedom. Because she cares for him more than she’ll admit, she needs to stop him. Desperate, she can think of but one way.
Emlyn recently learned she’s a direct descendant of a woman hanged as a witch in 1692. She has a book filled with arcane recipes and chants passed down through her family. Possessed of, or perhaps by a vivid imagination, she intends to use these to solve Jimmy’s murder before Roger takes revenge on the killer. But she’s new to this “witch thing,” and needs help from her friend Rebecca Nurse, whose ancestor also took a short drop from a Salem tree. Rebecca’s not much better at deciphering the ancient directions, and while the women stumble over spell after spell, the number possible killers grows. When Chief Woodward’s wife is shot and a bottle bomb bursts through Emlyn’s window, it becomes clear she’s next on the killer’s list.
In Central Florida, Farrell’s Orchards is no longer what it had once been. Deborah Hannel knows this. She and her sister, Leah, grew up here, raised by their Aunt Harriet and Uncle Max. Uncle Max is gone now, as is Leah’s husband; as are the husbands of several cousins. It seems divorce is as much a family tradition as Deborah’s oyster stuffing, and bringing new ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree. When Deborah arrives alone for Christmas at Farrell’s Orchards, will the ornament she’s brought to hang on the tree be a memory of another impending divorce?
Food, friends… and murder—how Emlyn Good celebrates Christmas!
“How do I get involved in these things?” Emlyn Goode asks.
It’s Christmas Eve. Instead of singing carols around a fire, Emlyn and Roger Frey are at the historic Echo Club for the Niagara Falls police precinct’s annual holiday celebration. Tonight there will be good food, dancing, and time with friends. A joyous night—that is, until the body of a man Emlyn knows too well is found in the Club’s stairwell. Now she refuses to rest until she figures out who killed him, and why.
But, each time Emlyn’s gotten involved in a murder, the killer has come after her. Can she find a clue in her ancient relative’s Book of Shadows before that happens again?
In The Magic of Murder, Susan Lynn Solomon let readers laugh at the antics of an albino cat and a witch. Now, in nine short tales she takes a serious look at relationships and their impact on characters who confront their pasts.
A young soldier returns, changed by his war. A young British girl faces the people of her town after parental abuse. An older man who as a teenager fled his hometown, returns when his childhood girlfriend begs a favor. A radical of the ’70s leaves the cemetery after her mother’s funeral, searching for where her life will lead.
In these stories and five others, Solomon explores the persistence of memory and the promise of hope.
Cursed by a Native American brave, the Bennet House is one of the most haunted locations in Niagara Falls. This is where Emlyn Goode and all but one member of her writers’ group hunt for ghosts on Halloween. What they find in the house, isn’t a ghost, though. It’s the body of Edward Bennet, the missing group member.
A few days earlier, Edward had shown Emlyn a document he’d found in the Bennet House, and told her it would anger people if made public. When Edward is found, the document is missing. Emlyn is certain that document will identify Edward’s killer, but her search for it becomes dangerous when her lover, police detective Roger Frey is shot in the Bennet House, and then the killer comes after her and her friend Rebecca. Without Roger to protect her, can anything written in her ancient relative’s Book of Shadows save Emlyn this time?