USA Today Bestselling Author
A dubious festival.
A fatal swim.
Can this fortune-telling fairy
herald the true killer?
Coriander the Conjurer is trapped in a cursed Renaissance Faire, but that’s the good news. Her usual routine of reading patrons’ futures and compensating for her lopsided fairy wings is interrupted when a scuffle turns deadly. Now, in order to broker peace within the realm she must solve a mermaid’s murder.
Convincing the gorgeous Mer prince to allow her to investigate seems the only option. But she’ll need the help of a dangerous vampire and her meddling toad familiar to uncover the real clues. With doxies, scoundrels, and panderers aplenty, it won’t be easy to suss out the truth!
Can Coriander’s fairy dust save the day, or will her inquiry end as a tragedy?
I don’t think I mentioned that this is a multi-author series. Three authors have created this wonderful magical faire where anyone with magic can get stuck forever.
In this book we meet Coriander she’s a fairy, but unlike some when she was ‘trapped’ by eating the candy it was truly an escape from abuse. The humans who ‘adopted’ her were convinced she was a changeling and were constantly testing her for abilities. She thought she would be part of the fairies Enchanted Forest, but Queen Magnolia had banned her after a week, saying her ‘trailer trash’ upbringing just wouldn’t do. Coriander actually prefers not being part of that, she enjoys her freedom and has a fortune telling tent and a toad companion named Thornton.
Like all faires they travel from site to site, and this particular one is having an issue with the merfolk. The owner Carl Rutlish has an unreasonable demand. He wants a mermaid on the shell throne from opening to closing. Not just any mermaid either, he wants it to be Princess Delphine, Prince Hadal’s sister. Seems he’s a bit obsessed with her and calls them out when they have humans helping out on that throne. He even threatens to double the rent for their space.
Unfortunately for Carl, Delphine is found dead the next morning. The sheriff in his usual uncaring way merely sends the body off to Vern the vampire for autopsy. Cori knows the man won’t do much to find the killer, so she wants to investigate. Not only to clear the owner Carl but to find the true culprit. No one wants a murderer running around the faire. First though, she needs Prince Hadal’s permission.
This is a favorite scene.
Sheriff Boswell’s main concern may have been for the humans that were moments away from entering the grounds, but he wouldn’t send the body down to Vern unless he suspected foul play.
From my vantage point, there was no obvious injury. Although I couldn’t bring myself to stare at the corpse for very long.
“Shall I enter the tank and search for clues?”
“Generous offer, Thorny, but we don’t want to anger the trolls.” Biding my time near the tank, I noticed smeared footprints near the base of the ladder. They couldn’t be from yesterday, because the cleaning pixies never missed a day. The bootprints were considerably larger than my feet, but that wasn’t much of a clue. The Fae are known for their delicate features.
The witless troll sidekicks banged around and clumsily tossed a large tarpaulin on the ground in front of the tank.
There was no way I’d be sticking around. I couldn’t bear to watch the extraction. After slipping through the curtain of plastic seaweed, I headed toward the individual water pods. I wasn’t sure which one was Hadal’s, but when I turned the corner I heard muffled voices.
The gorgeous blacksmith, Isaac Brand, was outside one of the pods, speaking in a low tone. And, as I mentioned, my hearing is exceptional.
“It was no accident at all. I’m telling you, Rutlish is trying to intimidate you. You’re going to need creatures who have legs 24/7 on your side. I’m here, and I can make weapons—enhanced with alchemy if needed.”
I leaned forward, hoping that Hadal wouldn’t put his stamp of approval on this terrible plan.
“Perhaps Carl is to blame, perhaps not. If he’s guilty of anything it’s that he seemed a tadpole too fond of my sister. You must understand, I’m not eager to jump to conclusions. Once the conch blows and the war cry is sounded, there’ll be no turning of the tide. Give me a little time.”
The blacksmith rolled his massive shoulders back and grumbled. “As you wish.” He stalked off in the other direction, and I crept down the passage.
Despite my stealth, the powerful merman sensed my presence. “Young Fae, what is your name?”
Wow. He didn’t even know my name, and I’d been crushing on him for years. “Coriander, but everyone calls me Cori.”
“Coriander, I have seen you in our enclosure these last few days. You spoke out in favor of a peaceful solution yesterday. How do you feel now that my sister’s life has been so cruelly taken?”
“Angry and sad. Delphine was one of the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know her well enough to say more. I’m so sorry about all of this.”
“Why do you apologize? You bear no fault for the circumstances, do you?”
“No. Of course not. I would never harm a living creature.”
“I share your respect for life, Coriander.”
Oh boy. I had no idea my own name could sound so beautiful.
Water tumbling over pebbles in a beautiful stream— He floated patronizingly in his pod. “I’ve had one useless visit after another, and I wish to grieve privately. Was there something else?”
“Yes.” My cheeks flushed and my voice caught in my throat. I coughed once and plowed ahead. “With your permission, I’d like to look into things. I want to discover the true culprit behind this horrible crime.” I shoved the now useless schedule under my belt.
“To what end?” His tail stopped moving and he gazed down at me with curiosity glistening in his dark eyes.
My wings vibrated, and I struggled to force words out of my mouth. “To honor Delphine’s memory.” I bit my lip and continued. “Plus, if there’s a killer in our midst, and we let them run free . . .”
“Hm.” Hadal gripped the edge of his enclosure and swished his tail back and forth. The rhythm of the lapping water, and the flexing of his muscles, was all too mesmerizing. “We both know the sheriff will do next to nothing; less if possible. You are an intelligent being, and seemingly resourceful. I will allow this.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
He chuckled. “My father is the king. Please call me Hadal. Let’s keep this investigation between the two of us. I feel your efforts will be more successful if they are unimpeded by the nets of those who may wish to hide the true nature of my sister’s demise.”
“Yes, sir— I mean, Hadal.”
Thornton snickered on my shoulder, and my cheeks again felt unnaturally warm. I couldn’t stop myself from compulsively bowing as I backed away from his pod and scurried out the back way.
Where to begin?
Silvertale, Trixie. All Swell That Ends Spell: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 2) Kindle Locations (617-653). The Faire Ladies LLC. Kindle Edition.
Like any good investigator, Cori starts with the coroner Vern, the vampire.
He doesn’t have the cause of death yet and frankly he scares Cori. Another of her suspects is Tombolo, he’s a merman and his proposal to Delphine was rejected. This she found out from Delphine’s best friend Neap. Even though Tombolo was rejected he truly did love Delphine and is mourning her.
Cori works her way through her suspects, only to find more. Vern also has an insight into who Cori’s fae parents might have been.
With plenty of twists and turns this is a most enjoyable read with just a hint of romance between Cori and Hadal.
5 Contented Purrs for Trixie!
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USA TODAY Bestselling author Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lilian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.
When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.