Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had previously read The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief, the first book in the series. It had been an interesting read but not my cup of tea. However, I decided to give the second book in the series a shot. Here is my review:

When a young man comes stumbling into Mr. Jasper Jesperson and Miss Lane’s consulting detective address, they are surprised when he cries “Witch!” while pointing at Miss Lane … and then dropping dead. The coroner’s inspection shows that the young man, Charles Manning, died of a heart attack – despite being in perfect health. The late Mr. Manning’s address book leads Jesperson and Lane to the shrieking pits of Aylmerton, an ancient archaeological site thought to be haunted by a vengeful ghost. There they sift through the local characters, each more suspicious than the last: Manning’s associate, Felix Ott, an English folklore enthusiast; Reverend Ringer, a fierce opponent of superstition; and the Bulstrode sisters, a trio of beauties with a reputation for witchcraft. But when an innocent child goes missing, suddenly Jesperson and Lane aren’t merely trying to solve one murder—they’re racing to prevent another.

I was hoping that I would maybe like this novel better than its predecessor but I still felt like this novel was just not the right fit for me. Jesperson continues to be the embodiment of Sherlock Holmes, while Lane strives to be his Watson. I wish they were more unique in their personalities instead of emulating this well-known duo, as it would have set them apart. I also found that while the story started with a bang, it quickly slowed down and it was hard for me to stay interested in the story. The actual mystery was okay but I felt a bit misled by the title; I thought there would be more witchcraft and spells involved but it didn’t really play much of a part. Since this novel didn’t work for me, I’m giving this a 2.5/5 stars. However, many people on Goodreads enjoyed this novel so I would still recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Sherlock Holmes and Victorian mystery novels.

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