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A Familiar Tail by Delia James {4 Stars}

A Familiar Tail by Delia James is a paranormal cozy mystery where Anna visits her friend in a small east coast town and stumbles upon a murder scene and a strangely smart cat that seems to appear and disappear at will. The problem is that she knows its a murder scene because her psychic Vibe tells her so, which isn’t much evidence to go on. I’ve just started getting in to the para-cozy genre and feel like they are the perfect books to read during autumn!

Note: I received an advanced copy of A Familiar Tail from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

A Familiar Tail by Delia James {4 Stars}

A Familiar Tail by Delia James (Witch's Cat Mystery #1)
Published by NAL on Feb. 2nd, 2016
Genres: Paranormal Cozy
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
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Magic and meows meet in the first enchanting Witch’s Cat mystery!
 
Unlucky-in-love artist Annabelle Britton decides that a visit to the seaside town of  Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is the perfect way to get over her problems. But when she stumbles upon a smoky gray cat named Alastair, and follows him into a charming cottage, Annabelle finds herself in a whole spellbook full of trouble.

Suddenly saddled with a witch's wand and a furry familiar, Annabelle soon meets a friendly group of women who use their spells, charms, and potions to keep the people of Portsmouth safe. But despite their gifts, the witches can’t prevent every wicked deed in town....

Soon, the mystery surrounding Alistair’s former owner, who died under unusual circumstances, grows when another local turns up dead. Armed with magic, friends, and the charmed cat who adopted her more than the other way around, Annabelle sets out to paw through the evidence and uncover a killer.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Alistair is a cat who seems to appear and disappear a bit too suddenly even for a cat to explain. He also manages to have my favorite personality of the book despite not speaking anything besides cat. I love animal companions that provide both the comic relief and a lot of the clues to the story!
  • I’m not very experienced with mysteries, but I enjoyed that I wasn’t able to guess whodunit. Once everything was revealed, it made sense, but there were enough possible directions things could go that I was intrigued.
  • It is entertaining to come across a story set in modern day where the magic is out in the open simply because everyone in the small town is so used to that group of women who seem to always make the right guess. Maybe this is normal in New England small towns, but it’s not what I’m used to reading, so I found it fun.
  • One of the reasons that I picked up Familiar Tail was for the quaint small town feeling that I always seem to wish for in the fall. I loved reading descriptions of strolling the downtown streets where ice cream and books are sold and everyone knows everyone and their parents.
  • I was pleasantly surprised at the racial diversity that was represented in this book. I’ve gotten sadly used to books where everyone seems to be white, so it was refreshing for Anna’s best friend to be a successful African American chef, one of the police women was also black, and several of the witches were described has having non-white characteristics.

Weaknesses:

  • I’ve gotten rather bored with clearly Wicca-based magic in modern day paranormal stories. I’ve read a lot of them and when each plays on the same aspects of Wicca over and over, it’s just not interesting anymore.
  • I never really connected with Anna. She was just too much the typical nice vanilla girl and she felt like someone I would try to be friends with but then just not really be able to find anything to talk about.

Summary:

A Familiar Tail is a fun mystery with a dash of psychic and Wiccan magic thrown in to a small New England town. I enjoyed trying to guess whodunit and getting to know a certain wonderful cat, but wished that I had connected with the main character better.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 A Familiar Tail by Delia James

© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.

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