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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Unfinished Witchness by Ada Bell is the first book in the Haunted Haven series. Emma is embarking on a new chapter in her life after receiving an inheritance from her grandfather. She has big plans to turn his quiet mansion into a quaint bed-and-breakfast with the help of his ghost and Pink, her magical talking cat. There is immediate friction as her plans ruffle the feathers of her neighbor who despises her for wanting to open a competing business. First, she needs to hire someone that can cook as not even her cooking spells can whip up anything delicious. The two women who show up to be interviewed hate each other. Giving the job to Martha, the more qualified applicant, she hires Josie to work at the front desk. Emma quickly finds herself in the middle of their strife and when her new cook is found dead in the kitchen following a confrontation between the two women, she refuses to believe that Josie is capable of murder. But could the women’s pasts have a connection, and what does a top-secret cinnamon roll recipe have to do with the murder? Taking on the investigation herself, Emma is determined to find the truth.
The focal point of the mystery is the friction between Martha and Josie. The confrontation between these two women drags Emma into the conflict, despite her trying to mediate. When Martha is found murdered, Josie is the main suspect and Emma genuinely believes in her innocence. Emma forms a real connection with the woman and learns more about her backstory. Ada Bell delivers top-notch humor that is upbeat, eccentric, and charming, stemming from the attitudes of the characters and clever dialogue. The main characters you get to see (and love) are Pink - the magic cat - and Emma’s grandfather. Both are part of this magical world and have an advisor-like role in her life. Pink comes across as a typical cat with sarcasm which is part of the driving force behind the humor. Emma’s grandfather has a more observational role and provides a running commentary throughout her day. Each of them plays a part in her investigation, giving the mystery a tone that is a delightful blend of magical and supernatural. Unfinished Witchness is the ideal read for those that enjoy cozy mysteries, comedy, magic, witches, and prominent cat characters.