Trapped in a magical Renaissance Faire
and accused of murder.
When Adelaide “Laidey” Ryan dragged herself off the couch for a date at the Renaissance Faire, she didn’t expect to run into her cheating ex-fiancé. The day only gets better when she winds up trapped on the magical grounds and discovers she’s a witch. And the best part? She’s charged with a homicide she didn’t commit.
With the “help” of a snarky talking cat, this former Pilates teacher will have to wade through a turkey-leg sized list of suspects to find the real killer, all while juggling her new job as a broom maker’s apprentice. Despite her troubles, there’s a dashingly handsome pirate captain who has her heart aflutter. But time is running out on her sleuthing, and the lazy sheriff is eager to march her to the gallows.
Can Laidey catch the murderer, or will her snooping make her Faire game for the killer?
I’ve always loved a Renaissance Faire. This is a multi-author series and in this first book a simple thing becomes life changing for Adelaide “Laidey” Ryan.
Laidey is trying to have a good time with her date Cliff, however, he is way too into birds for his own good. This is demonstrated at the Falconers when he knew the script word for word. Then that three things happen; her ex shows up with his new girl, she somehow directs a falcon to poop on him and she leaves her date.
She downs mead and turkey legs and enjoys the jousts and more before she is stopped on her way to the Crooked Confectioner. The Pirate Captain warns her not to eat the candy but she ignores the warning and gets some anyway.
The bell sounds the faire closing and Laidey follows. The problem is she can’t leave. No matter what she does she’s thrown back in.
Macy Mulligan escorts Laidey away from the gate and settles her in her tent with a chubby black cat and two white mice in appropriate cages. She’s stunned to find the cat can talk and further dismayed to find she’d have to teach them new tricks for the crowds. Then Macy threw fairy dust at her, and she blacked out.
The cat wakes her the next morning a Macy is dead, when the Sheriff arrives, he arrests Laidey for the murder, throwing her in the stocks. Mort the cat stays with her. Hilde from the turkey leg stand brings her food and drink, and they become friends before the sheriff shows up again.
This is a favorite scene.
Mort flopped down on his side, the tip of his tail whipping the dirt. “Dost thou never learn? Taunting only makes the peasants throw more things.”
Oh, I’d learned. But at this point my back ached, my scalp had a sunburn, I was parched and starving, and I felt pretty sure my next stop was the guillotine or the hangman’s noose or whatever vigilante justice they meted out here at this insane Faire. What did I have to lose?
I’d already tried screaming for help, insisting I was being held here against my will. But everyone either ignored me or chuckled, chuckled, as if it was all part of the act. I had to give it to these crazy Ren Faire carnies—it was a brilliant cover.
“’Scuse me, miss?”
I strained to turn my head. A buxom blond who looked about my age—early thirties—stood nearby in a corset and long dress holding a couple of tankards and turkey legs. Pretty milkmaids’ braids framed her round face, and her friendly smile faltered, which gave me just enough warning to squeeze my eyes shut.
A water balloon hit me square on the cheek and drenched my face. I shot the guy in Birkenstocks a flat look, my cheek stinging.
His preteen son high-fived him. “Nice shot, Dad!”
So glad I could be of service in this beautiful moment of family bonding. The family wandered off, and the troll meandered back to the jail. At last—a bit of reprieve.
The blond crouched down to my eye level. “Mind if I join you, miss?”
I raised an incredulous brow. Who would want to join me?
She pulled a roughly hewn stool over and settled herself in front of me. Carefully, she set the foaming tankards on the grassy lawn, then held one juicy, delicious-smelling leg up in front of me.
Was this some new form of torture the sheriff had devised? Tempting me with enormous portions of food and then withholding them?
But the blond gave me a sweet smile. “Thought you might be hungry?” Her English accent came out in a singsong cadence.
I meant to laugh, but it came out as a whimper. “Starving.”
Mort rolled toward her and lifted a paw. “I, as well.”
She seemed completely unfazed by the talking cat and bent forward to scratch between his ears. “You poor dear.”
She ripped off a piece of turkey and gave it to Mort. She then held the leg directly up to my face. It wasn’t the most dignified thing in the world, but I ripped off a hunk with my teeth and closed my eyes in bliss as I chewed.
She shot me a pitying look. “Sorry everyone’s throwing bladders of water at your head.”
I shrugged my aching shoulders. “It’s okay. It’s so hot out here, it’s actually refreshing.”
“I’m Hilde.” She held up the turkey leg for me to take another bite, while she munched on her own.
I spoke around my bite. “I’m Adelaide. Call me Laidey, though.”
Hilde’s big blue eyes grew round. “Lady?” She folded forward in a deep bow. “Oh, m’lady, what an injustice they’ve done to you! I offer myself as your humble servant.”
“What? Oh.” I flapped my hand in an attempt to wave her off. “It’s just a nickname. I’m not an actual lady.”
But Hilde shook her head, hands clasped at her ample chest. “Oh m’lady, I shall do my best to free you.”
I thought about protesting more but didn’t have the energy. Instead, I just ripped off another bite of the turkey leg. After I chewed and swallowed, she did her best to tip some beer from the tankard into my mouth. Most ended up dribbling down my chin and throat, but the one gulp of ice-cold liquid I got was worth it.
I frowned at Hilde as she sipped from her own tankard. “Why are you helping me?” Nobody else had.
She shrugged. “Ah, well, I can’t stand to see someone sufferin’, you know.” She handed Mort another piece of turkey. “Besides, I figure once you’re let out of there, if ye aren’t hanged, it’d be best to be friends with the cold-blooded killer—not on her bad side.”
“I didn’t kill Macy Mulligan!”
“Of course not, m’lady.” Hilde struggled to wink.
I shook my head. “For real. I just got here, I don’t know anyone—why would I kill her?”
“I wouldn’t blame ye if ye did.” She flashed her eyes. “Nobody liked her. Plus, if ye hadn’t killed her, yeh’d have ended up like Lavinia.”
“Truer words ne’er spoken,” Mort chimed in. He rose up on his hind legs and placed his little paws on Hilde’s skirt. She fed him another piece of turkey leg.
Mort blinked his bright green eyes at me. “Macy’s former indentured servant. She slaved away for three decades before earning her freedom.”
“Yeesh.” My stomach turned. Macy had been eager to “claim me,” as she’d put it, and had clearly planned to put me to work.
Maybe I should be grateful to whoever killed her. Then again, I wasn’t sure “locked in the stocks” was a huge upgrade from indentured servant.
Hilde shook her head, her gaze wistful. “I admire your boldness, m’lady, slaying your captor and strikin’ out on your own like that. I’ve been with the Faire since the beginning, and I’m still only a turkey leg wench.”
She held up the enormous hunk of bird. “I’d love to claim my place in the Faire one day, as a ticket seller or maybe even a shop girl. Show ’em what I’m capable of… but…” She heaved a great sigh. “But I should keep my feet on the ground and head out of the clouds, as my pa always said. I’m probably only good for dishin’ poultry and fillin’ draughts.”
I frowned. I might not have taught a Pilates class in months, but the instincts to encourage and motivate were deep in me. I’d heard clients belittle themselves for their perceived weakness, lack of coordination, and hundreds more shortcomings. I’d never been okay with standing by while people talked so badly of themselves, and I wasn’t about to start now.
She and Mort looked up at me.
“That’s not true.” With my wrist clamped between the stocks, I did my best to lift my palm. “I may have just met you, but I know that you’re incredibly kind and generous—just look how you’re taking care of Mort and me.”
Hilde’s fair cheeks blushed bright pink, and she looked down at her lap.
“And I know you’re brave. No one else dared approach a suspected murderer.”
This got a small smile out of her.
I decided to capitalize on her misunderstanding. “I hereby order you to stop speaking so badly of yourself. Agreed?”
She grinned up at me. “Yes, m’lady.”
I grinned back. “Good.”
Sheriff Watson Boswell and his troll constables exited the jail and marched straight over to us. Oh goody.
Hilde leaped to her feet and bowed her head, while Mort log rolled behind my ankles. I sighed at the lawmen.
The sheriff glared at me. “Your bail has been paid, Adelaide Ryan.” He jerked his chin at a leering troll, who stomped forward with a big iron ring of keys and unlocked the stocks.
Was this a heat-stroke-induced hallucination? Warily I straightened, though my spine wouldn’t quite cooperate. Oof. I’d need to do some stretches, stat. I rubbed my sore wrists and peered up at the sheriff.
“Who bailed me out?” I looked at Hilde, but she shook her head.
The sheriff crossed his arms over his barrel chest. “He wished to remain anonymous.”
I smirked. “So it’s a ‘he.’”
“Blast!” He bared his teeth. “Fine, you know that much. But the rest is a secret.”
Johnson, Erin. Much A’Broom About Nothing: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Locations (340-399). The Faire Ladies LLC. Kindle Edition.
Now that she’s been bailed out, she has to find the real murderer or face the gallows. First though, she tries once again to leave the faire. It’s then she also discovers that everyone in the fair is supernatural. With Mort and Hilde’s help she starts thinking about who might want Macy dead. Hilde realizes she’ll need a new place to stay and a job.
They’re talking about the queen and her court, which is full, when Mort enlightens her on the double curse of the Faire. The court is not only trapped here, but also immortal.
I really cackled at the line ‘May she die before her time.’ A sort of trial to become an apprentice to Tom at Swept Away Artisian Brooms is where Laidey begins.
We meet many interesting characters as Laidey investigates, I do like the Pirate Captain Bruce Roberts, and he seems to have taken quite the liking to Laidey.
With many twists and turns Laidey does find the actual murderer and also discovers what happened to the mice that disappeared from Macy’s tent.
So much fun, laughter, stunts, romance and more!
5 Contented Purrs for Erin!
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A native of Arizona, Erin loves her new home in the Pacific Northwest! She writes paranormal cozy novels– stories that are mysterious, magical, and will hopefully make you laugh.
When not writing, she’s hiking, napping with her dogs, and losing at trivia night.
Erin’s had a ton of different jobs, from blackjack dealer to PA on a horror movie to Pilates instructor but has finally embraced her true calling as a writer. Thanks so much for your interest and for supporting her!