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black cat

By Bailey Cates

Potions and Pastries is the seventh in the Magical Bakery Mystery Series featuring Katie Lightfoot and the ladies of the spellbook club – another name for her informal coven of witches. Katie, her aunt Lucy, and uncle Ben own the Honeybee Bakery in Savannah, Georgia. Katie and Lucy are both hereditary hedgewitches, also known as green witches, and add magically enhanced herbs and spices to their baked goods to benefit their customers.

After celebrating the second year of success at the Honeybee with a dinner out, Katie, her fiancé Declan, Ben and Lucy come across Orla Black, a friend who’s a fortune teller. Shortly after Orla hints at something in Katie’s future, she meets with what appears to be a terrible accident. However, between her instincts and a few otherworldly hints, Katie knows it was much more than that. Since the authorities don’t believe foul play was involved in Orla’s death, Katie dives in to track the killer with the help of her friends.

In the process, she learns the Black family is a group of Irish travelers, sometimes known as gypsies. They live in a series of connected townhouses and often busk along the busy Savannah riverfront. Their skill set is varied, with a mime, a unicyclist, a ventriloquist, and a hypnotist, as well as fortune telling.

Meanwhile, Katie’s tiny carriage house is getting cramped for her and Declan, so they’ve been house hunting the help of fellow-witch and real estate agent, Cookie Rios. The process is difficult for Katie because she loves her home so much. Still, they want to find someplace larger before moving forward with the wedding. Cookie has some new developments in her life, too, as does another spellbook club member, Bianca Devereaux.

It was inevitable that one of the Magical Bakery Mysteries would have an Irish connection. After all, there are already several. Katie has Irish blood from her mother, a freckled redhead (her father is Shawnee), and her fiancé, Declan McCarthy is not many generations removed from the Old Country responsible for his surname. Not only that, but Declan is occasionally visited by the spirit of an ancient leprechaun caught in a kind of supernatural purgatory. Can’t get much more Irish than a leprechaun!

Savannah also has a strong link to Ireland. The city received an influx of people fleeing the Irish potato famine, and many stayed. Today, there are nearly 200 names in the phone book that begin with O’, and the St. Patrick Day’s Parade in Savannah is the second largest in the United States with more than 400,000 people attending — pretty impressive for a city with a population of just under 150,000!

The recipes in the back of Potions and Pastries are for Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (mmmm!) and, for a savory option, Rhubarb and Ricotta Crostini.

For more information about the Magical Bakery Mysteries, the Enchanted Garden Mysteries I write as Bailey Cattrell, and my other books, please visit http://www.baileycates.com.