A Spell of Murder

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

I love cats and I sometimes pick up 'first in a series' books to check out new authors to me. Hoping for a little gem. Alas, this was not my cup of tea. The story is told from the POV of the cats and not funny or interesting enough to keep your attention.
Was this review helpful?
The story centers around three cats and their owner. The cats, who all have female human names, Clara, Laurel and Harriet have powers. Becca, the owner, belongs to a coven and practices a summoning spell. While Becca is summoning, Harriet makes a pillow appear for her own selfish reasons. Becca, now believes that she has summoned a pillow from the ether. 

Becca hosts a coven meeting at her home, where one of the members wishes to speak with her. The following day, Becca goes to see Suzanne and finds her dead. Becca learns that Suzanne was seeing her ex, and Trent, a coven member. When the police bring up the fact about Becca's ex and that Suzanne was being stalked, Becca fears that she is their suspect.

I really wanted to like this story, but I had a difficult time in the beginning with the cat's names. I would have to stop and remind myself that Clara, Laurel or Harriet are the cats. Also, what I felt took away from the story, was the dialog of the cats. There was a lot of dialog between the cats and most of it went nowhere. Clara, the youngest of the three cats, was able to make herself invisible to follow her owner, aside of that there was very little magic involved. This story wasn't quite what I expected.

I received an ARC from NetGalley via Polis Books in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Another mystery with talking cats, so I wanted to like it. However, too many characters, overly loquacious cats, a dull protagonist, and an author who referred to a character several times as chubby and heavyset (once is enough!) and kept referring to the protagonist as “the young woman” made this book a non-starter for me.
Was this review helpful?
I didn't like this book. There doesn't feel like there's a center to it. I love cats but all the back and forth between them and the humans is confusing. The human felt like second hand characters. #AspellOfMurder #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
I always enjoy a good cozy mystery featuring pets, so Becca and her three cat sisters were exactly the type of story I like. The story moves along at a good pace and there are plenty of suspects to keep you guessing until the end. 

Becca is an unemployed researcher, who is also is part of a coven. Her cats, Clara, Laurel and Harriet, are magic practitioners.  We are introduced to the group via a gathering at Becca's.  Later we get to meet Maddy, Becca's best friend, Jeff, her ex-boyfriend and Nathan. 

Before long Becca is being questioned about the body she discovered in her coven member's apartment. As the police question her, she fears she is the prime suspect. As information unfolds, you learn that Becca has been kept in the dark by people she trusted. At times she seems vulnerable and easily manipulated by those around her. 
Once Becca starts digging into things, she uncovers secrets that put her in danger.  Its her perseverance to find the killer and right the wrong that keeps you reading. She also reaches decisions about her life and the people in them.  Clara protects and tries to help her human along the way. But I found Laurel and Harriet to be self-centered. Harriet's obsession with food was a bit much. While the two older cats did help Becca, it was out of self-preservation. 

The coven itself was made up of self-absorbed people. It was easy to see why every one of them had a motive to commit murder and were under suspicion. Marcia seemed to care for and treat Becca as a friend.. Ande has the potential to be a great friend.

Nathan had a secret, which I am glad he explained to Becca. But I am not sure that their relationship will go any where. He was a borderline stalker. At times it was creepy.. I agree with Maddy that Becca should keep looking and proceed with caution. She genuinely cares for friend and wants only the best for Becca.

Overall a good read. I hope the next book continues with Becca finding her own "powers" as she and her cats solve another mystery..
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Oh. :( It kind of sucks when you read a favorite author and don't like their book (even more so when you're approved for it on Netgalley!) I mean, I will forever love you Clea, but this one wasn't for me. I'll try to explain why.

This is about three cats, and it's a cozy mystery so I SHOULD love it. Instead, two out of three of the cats were completely unlikable and unneeded to the story. Clara was the main focus; but here sisters Laurel and Harriet just loaf around and rarely contribute anything. There are SO many pointless scenes that go nowhere, so many pointless characters with little or nothing to do with the story flitting about. The cats having human names made them utterly forgettable; I often confused them with members of the coven. I didn't even know the name of the murderer because I was lost in the muddle that was this book!

Ultimately I'm just sad for this one, because I think with some tweaks (less cats talking about food, more clarification) this could have been really good. I still don't know what I just read. Yes, three stars is a low rating for me btw. :/
Was this review helpful?
Becca lives with her three cats (Clara, Harriet and Laurel).  Becca is unemployed and recently broke up with her boyfriend.  Becca also recently joined a coven.

The three cats each have distinctive personalities and it was fun getting to know them while their human, Becca, worked through the mystery and other problems she faces in the book.  Also, Becca and the cats have an interesting backstory/genealogy, which I am looking forward to hearing more about in future instalments.  

The coven members were interesting, but I was left with a few questions and did not feel like I really got to know most of them very well.    

I knew prior to reading the book that there would be magic and cats in this delightful cozy, but I didn't note the part about the cats being magical.  Nor did I realize it would be written from the cats' point of view.  I was very pleasantly surprised, especially with the latter.  

I would recommend this cozy to lovers of cats.  Especially people, like me, who regularly make up what my cats might be thinking/saying for their own entertainment.  

I received an advanced digital copy of A Spell of Murder by Clea Simon from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Becca is newly single and unemployed, she believes she has pyschic powers and is studying to become a witch. Its actually her cats that have the powers and the story is told from their perspective. It didn't really work for me and I won't be reading any other books in the series.
Was this review helpful?
This one was hard, I'm giving it an actual rating of 2.5 - 3 stars. 

This book is definitely different. It follows Becca, an unemployed 'witch', as her everyday life is thrown into turmoil when she finds a member of her coven murdered. What makes this book different, is that it's not narrated by Becca, the obvious choice in a story like this, it is in fact, narrated by one of her three cats, Clara. Clara, Laurel and Harriett are Becca's three cats, unlike their human counterpart, they are witches. When Harriett summons a cushion for her own comfort, Becca thinks that she can actually wield powers and becomes somewhat of a "star" in her own coven, being the only person to successfully summon anything (or so she thinks). Clara often follows her 'person' when she leaves the apartment giving an unbroken narrative of Becca's actions and activities outside of home, the other two cats are written as being not as caring as Clara, so are not as involved. 

I really loved the premise of this story. I mean come on, a book where it's narrated by cats!!! How exciting! Unfortunately, I found that that wasn't the case, I felt like I was floundering around in a pool of story while trying to clutch at bits and pieces, fumbling to make a connection to ANYTHING, while trying not to drown in the slow pacing. I felt connected to the narrator, which is great, but the problem was, the story was being told from another's view, which I think felt a bit disjointed for me. Harriett and Laurel were incredibly unlikable which made me sad, and Becca was fairly flat for me. Most of the other characters didn't have much depth to them, and there wasn't really anything outstanding about them that I found. 

I think that the idea the author had was fantastic, but I also feel that something was lost in translation so to speak. I feel like Simon's could have done SO much more with her idea than what she did. I want to know more about the cat sisters, about their powers, their lineage. Maybe if they had have been the focal point of the story with bits about their 'person' thrown in just to illustrate the fact that they were housecats as well as all powerful witches, it would have resonated better with me. I'm not sure if the author is planning on making this a series or not, if she does I will still read the next one in the hope that there's something...more happening, yet I also fail to see how this could be made into a series. I imagine that Becca would have to eventually find out about her cats and their powers, however forbidden it is for the cats to reveal this, but I fail to see how the story could be expanded upon. 

The mystery aspect was fairly meh for me, as I said earlier, I felt like the clues and leads were very 'grasping at straws', so to speak. It felt a little bit clumsily done and executed. I had no idea who the culprit was, which I normally enjoy, but by the time it was revealed, I didn't really care anymore. The pacing kinda killed it a little bit for me. 

All that said, I still implore people to give this a go, you never know, you might thoroughly enjoy it! I'd put it down as a cozy mystery myself. I'm so sad, I really wanted to love this.
Was this review helpful?
A good start to a series, I'm not a big fan of animal mysteries so it kind of lost me when the cats were talking so much. May check out the next one to see how it progresses.
Was this review helpful?
A Spell of Murder is a cute book but I had a bit of a hard time connecting with the story and characters.
Was this review helpful?
I have to admit I'm a sucker for books with cats as the smartest sleuths, and I'm also an established fan of Ms. Simon's.  This book didn't disappoint on any front... the three cats all had different personalities and quirks, and I loved them all.  Their good-natured bickering was so typical of cats that it was impossible not to laugh out loud every now and then.  Add in a decent story line with mystery around every corner, and you've got a good weekend read.  Recommended!
Was this review helpful?
The synopsis sounded intriguing but halfway through and I found myself skipping through pages, with the cats doing most of the talking, I just lost interest. Finished it but can't recommend it. I received an e-book from NetGalley in return for an unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
The cover and description had me hoping this would be an interesting story. It's told through the perspective of cats, and while cute, it was a bit much.
I'm not sure if I would read another in the series, I had hoped it would get more interesting as I read on, but I was really not impressed.

I volunteered to read and review an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
A charming first in what hopes to be an enchanting new series. I always love a book that gives the perspective from an animals point of view as well as humans, it just adds that bit of character to the story. We are given a good first glance at the main characters in this series, and i cannot wait to learn more. The story had somewhat of a slow start, but when you stick with it, you will not be disappointed.
Was this review helpful?