November is coming to an end, but Fall is still alive and kicking. Which means that even though Halloween has long past, spooky stories are still pretty much on trend. I recently came across a title that combines spooky with detective story. The book is called The Curious Affair of The Witch at Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle and is from The Casebook of Jesperson and Lane Series. This would be the second book in the series.
In The Curious Affair of The With at Wayside Cross, Jesperson and Lane (our detective and assistant) get a knock on their door and they open it to find a frantic person who then dies in front of them. The person is named Charles Manning and he calls out "Witch!" before passing away. This case takes Jesperson and Lane to Aylmerton, where the cast of characters and suspects includes a Reverend and his strict wife, three sisters that live together and are labeled witches by the townsfolk, and an English folklore enthusiast who wants to build a school around the pagan rituals and religion.
The stories timeframe is Victorian England, and there are a lot of superstitions and stereotypes still at play. Charles Manning was dabbing into the occult, and as the story progresses it is clear that many people have secrets and could potentially be the killer. This story also has a smaller mystery that involves what the locals call the shrieking pits of the area, where a vengeful ghost still haunts, and the disseverance of a newborn. This smaller mystery is quickly solved, compared to the bigger mystery of Charles Manning's death which doesn't come to conclusion until the very end.
I enjoyed the mystery and the combination of lore with actual detective work. However, the ending came out of nowhere and did not necessarily make sense completely. Without giving too much away there seems to be some premeditation, but if you look at the order of events, there should not have been a reason yet for that premeditation. I will say it keeps you on your toes, and theres a lot of intrigue and it was definitely a fun journey.
*I received this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.*