Dreams Really Can Come True, by Hannah Reed
I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to work for Berkley Prime Crime. The New York publisher excels at publishing theme-based mystery series with wonderful covers, and I wanted to be part of their family. Luckily, I had an agent at the time. We brainstormed.
“A wine series?” I suggested, mainly because I absolutely love wine, and the research would be such fun.
“Berkley already did one,” she told me. “How about a fairy godmother protagonist?”
“Uh…sorry, but I don’t know a thing about fairy godmothers. What else do you have?”
She was one smart agent. “What do you like?” she asked. “You know, what are your passions?”
I thought about that then answered, “Animals, flowers, anything having to do with being outdoors, cooking.” I paused. So did she. We both knew that the bookshelves were brimming with cats and dogs and culinary series, and there probably wasn’t any room for more.
“Birding?” I suggested.
Well, where the heck was I going to fit in?
“How about a craft? Do you do an unusual craft?” she asked. “All the most popular ones are already contracted, so it would have to be really original.”
I shook my head, feeling pretty defeated.
But my agent wasn’t a quitter. “I’ve always thought,” she said, infusing the sentence with magic, “that a beekeeping series could work.”
That was it! I’d been reading about the plight of the honeybee. I could show the cozy reading world that there was a vast difference between a sweet little honeybee and a nasty old yellow jacket. Plus, the concept had all the ingredients that I love - animals, flowers, honey (as in cooking), and I could write in lots of nature. It was so me!
Excited, I wrote up three chapters and an outline. Story Fischer and her hometown of Moraine, Wisconsin came to life. Along with a grocery store she owns and an interfering mother, a snoopy woman living next door, a hot cop who rides a Harley, and a K-9 police dog (see, I managed to get that dog in there, too).
Berkley came back with a contract offer to write three books in the Queen Bee series. I had been accepted into the family.
Beewitched is book five in the series. If you haven’t been introduced to beekeeper Story Fischer yet, you can start wherever you like, because each can stand alone. Welcome to my dream come true.
About Beewitched: Beekeeper Story Fischer has stocked the shelves of her market, The Wild Clover, in preparation for the influx of produce-crazy tourists about to invade Moraine, Wisconsin. In fact, with the apple cider and caramel apple stand on Main Street and the corn maze out at Country Delight Farm, the whole town is ready for the swarm.
But when a self-proclaimed witch moves into town, the neighbors are all abuzz with questions. Is the quirky newcomer a good witch or a bad one? Story thinks Dyanna Crane is perfectly nice, albeit a little eccentric. But after an entire coven shows up for a new moon ritual—and one of the witches ends up dead in the corn maze—Story must comb through both fact and fiction, before anyone else is murdered under the cover of magic .
Mochas, Mysteries and Meows Review: I've been a fan of Hannah Reed's Queen Bee Mystery series from book one, but this one had extra appeal for me for two reasons: it's set in the fall and features witchcraft.
Story's friend Patti is in a tizzy over their new neighbor Dyanna, who she is convinced is a witch. It would appear that she is right when a group of women all dressed in black show up at The Wild Clover. The coven is short one witch for their new-moon ritual and Story suggests her friend Aurora. That night Story sits on her porch to watch the ritual and begins to fear for Aurora's life when she spots a knife. An absolutely hysterical scene ensues when Story decides she needs to rescue Aurora and ends up frolicking in the river with the coven after they've dropped their witch capes to reveal that they're all naked underneath. After everyone has retreated to their orchard campsite one of the witches is murdered in the corn maze. Story faces some questions from the police chief (& boyfriend Hunter Wallace) when the clothing she left behind at the river is found.
This is such a fun small town mystery series and it's inhabitants have come to feel like close friends to me, especially PP Patti, Story's tech-savvy, perpetually complaining sidekick. Every chance I get to visit Moraine, Wisconsin is an absolute joy and I eagerly look forward to Story's next adventure.
GIVEAWAY: What's your favorite book featuring witchcraft? Tell us by noon EST on February 7, and you will be entered to win a copy of Beewitched. U.S. entries only.
* I received a copy of this book from the publisher with the request for a review.