Caught Dead Handed
Carol J. Perry
Kensington, Sep 2 2014, $7.99
After a decade away, Maralee Barrett returns home from St. Petersburg, Florida to Salem, Massachusetts for a job interview at WICH-TV. She arrives at the cable station only to be told the position was filled. Before Lee leaves, the interviewer who dissed her, station manager Mr. Doan angrily leaves his office because the call-in psychic host Ariel Constellation walked out on her show. As she departs, Lee, hearing a cell phone, finds Ariel’s corpse.
Program director Janice Valen calls 911. SPD Detective Pete Mondello arrives to lead the inquiry. Valen explains to Lee that Scott Palmer’s sports reporting got him the job, but that she needs a replacement ASAP for Ariel. Though not a psychic, Lee, needing a job, accepts. However, something odd ensues; the ball Lee employs as a gimmick actually works. She investigates while Ariel’s cat O’Ryan moves in with Lee and Aunt Ibby. The killer murders again while stalking the new psychic, her aunt and that darned cat.
Although Salem has hosted several paranormal whodunits (see the Wishcraft Mystery series Witch City Mystery is a bewitching psychic investigation due to strong characterizations starting with the heroine and the cat who adopted her. The fast-paced storyline spins a spell on the audience who will believe in the otherworldly; at the same time the protagonist struggles to accept her sudden skills while adopting the mantra “Better Read than Dead” (Psychic Eye Mysteries by Victoria Laurie).