Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Witch's Grave: Mini-Review

The Witch's Grave by Philip DePoy is definitely not my usual fare. I thought it might be...after all it features folklorist and academic Fever Devilin. And we all know that I love me an academic mystery. Problem is Devilin and his friend Andrews neither one really strike me as the academic type. I'm left wondering how either one of them got their job at a university. But that's a side issue. Let's get down to cases and give a brief run-down of the plot.

Devilin, a native of the Georgia Appalachians, has recently returned home to do research aAmongst the people of Blue Mountain. When he's not getting involved in murder mysteries, he's recording folk songs and stories passed down in the families of the area. In this second book of the series he gets drawn into the murder of the local mortician, Harding Pinehurst. Pinehurst's body is found after a church supper--a supper that saw Able Carter and his fiancee, Truevine Deveroe, arguing over some "investigation" that Carter was doing which involved her family. Pinehurst happens to be a cousin of the Deveroe family. When Truevine and Able come up missing, folks suspect that Carter must have killed the mortician and Truevine's drunken, gun-toting brothers are afraid that Carter may have made away with Truevine as well. They are on the warpath and out for Carter's blood.

The discovery of half-buried bodies near the mortuary reveal Pinehurst's secret, but not who really killed him. Devilin must use the stories from the past--including his own--and an insight into the peculiar ways of the Blue Mountain folk to identify a unlikely killer. A killer in a world where the old ways hold sway and modern witches can still cast spells.

True Confession Time: I did not read every bit of this book. I read my personal quota for determining whether to continue with a book or not, then skimmed so I could have a general idea of the plot and finished up by reading the last two chapters. This is definitely not my cup of tea. I'm not a huge fan of inserting the paranormal into my mysteries anyway--but it just really didn't seem to have a point here. It wasn't used effectively for atmosphere, was used half-heartedly for motive, and didn't do a thing for me. Inserting Devilin's friend Andrews (on vacation) into the mix seemed pretty pointless as well. The story-telling was flat and the characters weren't interesting or compelling. The central plot--the murder--was explained pretty effectively--the only highlight I can find in the mix. However, there are a mass of four-star ratings for this one on Goodreads, so your mileage may vary. As for me... and out of the house it goes.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Too bad it didn't work out for you, well, your quota... looks good for the season. Oh well, can't like them all I suppose.