Blurb: The ladies of the Cumberland Scrapbook Crop are welcoming an eccentric newbie into their fold. A self-proclaimed witch, Cookie Crandall can whip up a sumptuous vegan meal and rhapsodize about runes and moon phases with equal aplomb. She becomes fast friends with her fellow scrapbookers, including freelance reporter Annie, with whom she shares shallow roots in a community of established family trees. So when Cookie becomes the prime suspect in a series of bizarre murders, the croppers get scrappy and set out to clear her name. . .
Annie starts digging and discovers that the victims each had strange runic patterns carved on their bodies--a piece of evidence that points the police in Cookie's direction. Even her friends begin to doubt her innocence when they find an ornate, spiritual scrapbook that an alleged beginner like Cookie could never have crafted. As Annie and the croppers search for answers, they'll uncover a shockingly wicked side of their once quiet town--and a killer on the prowl for another victim. . .
My Review: In the second Cumberland Creek novel from Mollie Cox Bryan, Annie's peaceful new life is disturbed by the violent deaths of two young women from the local Mennonite community. Suspicion falls on the newest member of the Scrapbook Crop, self-proclaimed witch Cookie Crandall, because of the runic patterns carved on the victims' bodies. The ladies stand by their new friend, but doubts arise about her honesty when they discover an elaborate "scrapbook of shadows" that a beginner never could have created.
This is an extremely well-crafted mystery filled with complex women and deep friendships, a quiet town with buried secrets, and witchcraft. I found it interesting how even though Annie is the main character, each of the scrapbookers day to day lives are given equal focus, from Vera's struggles as a single mom and doubts about her new relationship to 81 year old Beatrice's despair that the ghost of her dead husband has abandoned her since she had a fling in Paris. I'd love to have the opportunity to have a bowl of pumpkin soup with these ladies!
I received a copy of this book from the author with the request for a review. Please join me on Monday, January 21, when I'll be interviewing Mollie!