Monday, July 13, 2015

Deadly Magic (A Grace Holliday Mystery #1) by Elisabeth Crabtree

Title: Deadly Magic (A Grace Holliday Mystery)
Author: Elisabeth Crabtree
Published: November 2012
Published By: Amazon Digital Services
Format Read: Kindle for PC, eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Contemporary, Chick Lit
Date Read: July 9 2015
Rating: 2.5/5

After working for Straker Toy Company for ten years Grace Holliday never would have imagined that magic (the attraction keeping the company afloat) would take such a deadly turn. To celebrate boss Franklin Straker’s birthday a big party is thrown at a local theater called the Dragon’s Lair, home to world famous magician Ilya Dragovich. As a surprise to her husband, Lily Straker was to return from Europe with a surprise performance which involved being lowered onto the stage from the rafters in silks. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned and she ended up being hung by the very silks she was suspended from. With an office full of suspects, Grace takes up the task of investigating the suspicious circumstances behind Lily’s death.

There were far too many accidents in too short of a time to be mere coincidences.

Crabtree, Elisabeth (2014-01-10). Deadly Magic (A Grace Holliday Cozy Mystery Book 1) (p. 2).  . Kindle Edition.

This quote alone gives readers a pretty good idea of the direction author Elisabeth Crabtree will take with Deadly Magic. The premise of a magic related mystery caught my attention when I read the synopsis. I looked forward to getting somewhat of a behind the scenes look into how different tricks and illusions are performed. Although we do get a bit of a glimpse the author was careful not to give away too many secrets of the trade. The ugly side of office politics and relationships is also highlighted, adding to the drama and confusion of the storyline.

For a cozy mystery, Deadly Magic had a large cast of characters and suspects. At times this was slightly overwhelming, especially when there was mention of people from the past, who weren’t necessarily featured in the forefront of the plot. Following the main character Grace throughout I had hoped to have a better understanding of who she was and learn more about her background, family and personality. However the focus is more set on the mystery itself and the inner workings of Straker Toy Company. I was able to come to the conclusion that she makes for a terrible investigator. Her loose tongue and trust in everyone blinded her from realizing that the truth was right in front of her the entire time. The longer she took to solve the mystery the more I became exasperated with this character.

Although lacking character development the plot line seemed to go on and on, passing over 300 pages. In my own personal opinion, I feel that it could have been effectively solved in less and perhaps I might have enjoyed it more.

I had a hard time rating this book because it did keep my interest and I wanted to see the mystery solved, yet I didn’t feel a connection to any of the characters. As this is book one in the Grace Holliday series I can only hope that there will be more character development in the next installments. Unfortunately I don’t think my curiosity is strong enough to continue on with the second book.  

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