Genre: Cozy mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: July 13th, 2021
Pages: 336, hardcover
The annual Mermaid Festival is the setting for Esme Addison’s sunny-yet-sinister second Enchanted Bay mystery, perfect for fans of Heather Blake and Bailey Cates.
The small town of Bellamy Bay has its share of skeletons in its closet, but it isn’t used to bodies turning up in the local history museum. After all, this coastal North Carolina town is much like any other…except, of course, for the mermaids.
Helping to run the family business, an herbal apothecary while keeping her supernatural secret hidden is no easy feat for water witch Aleksandra Daniels. But somehow she’s still found time to help her friend Celeste, who has her own Caribbean mermaid heritage plan the annual Mermaid Festival. As fun-seekers throng the beaches, Alex gets to know and is intrigued by renowned artist Neve Ryland, who’s in town to decorate the local park with a mermaid-themed mural. Celeste, however, is less enamored with the artist, as Neve has been spending entirely too much one-on-one time with her boyfriend Jasper, director of Bellamy Bay’s history museum. Then, a reception for Neve ends abruptly when the artist is found dead in his office.
The police investigation nets Celeste who asks Alex to find the true culprit. With the help of her magically-inclined aunt and cousins, Alex dives in to clear her friends name. But there was more to Neve Ryland than met the eye…and Alex fears she may be in way too deep. Will she catch the crook or be next on the hook?
A Hex for Danger is the second in the Enchanted Bay mystery series by Esme Addison. Alex is settling in with her cousins and aunt at their botanical shop, and is learning more about her mermaid heritage and powers.
The town is holding their annual Mermaid Festival, to celebrate their connection to the Mermaid of Warsaw. The artist who painted a mural for the event is found bludgeoned after a party, and Alex’s cousin Celeste is the prime suspect. As Alex investigates, she is put at odds with her police detective boyfriend Jack, and encounters other supernaturals who are not as benevolent as the mermaids.
The characters are good, and I’m enjoying the series, but I have a few minor quibbles with this one. They may get corrected during the editing process, but here they are:
1- In the first chapter, there’s a brief power outage and it states that people’s cell phones go dark. The blip is later attributed to a blip in the power grid. A blip in the power grid might take out a cell tower, but it wouldn’t cause cell phones to go dark, because they run on batteries.
2- Personal pet peeve – Don’t write a book set in the South if you can’t spell “y’all.” Sushi Ya’ll is not correct, unless it’s meant as a parody/joke.
3- Alex is very judgmental of others’ behavior, but is perfectly willing to do deep mental scans to get facts to clear her cousin. She considers that the ends justify the means, especially if the people she’s mind-mining turn out to be not so nice people. There’s one instance where someone holds her at gunpoint.. She disarms the assailant, but then holds the assailant against their will and forces them to answer her questions. That’s not ethical behavior.
By the end of the book, it seemed like Alex realized that she was on some shaky ground, ethically, and might be making some improvements. I hope so, because I do enjoy the series, but Alex’s actions are hypocritical and high-handed.