The Taming of the Broom – Magical Renaissance Faire Book 6 by Erin Johnson

The Taming of the Broom
Magical Renaissance Faire Book 6
Erin Johnson


Pirates, mutiny and murder!
Can this broom-making witch catch a killer?

Adelaide “Laidey” Ryan is adjusting to her new life in a cursed Renaissance Faire. But it’s not all bad for this broom-crafting witch. Her snarky black cat familiar and the dashing pirate captain help make the fantastical faire feel like home, but trouble is brewing for this novice witch…

When a pirate is murdered and the handsome captain thrown behind bars, Laidey vows to get to the bottom of this murky case. With an enchanted broom on the lam, a centuries old vendetta against a sea sorceress, and mutinous scallywags threatening her life, she’s soon sailing into dangerous waters.

Can Laidey conjure the clues to catch the murderer, or will this new witch end up sleeping with the fishes?

I think my favorite character in this multi author series is Laidey Ryan. She didn’t know she was a witch when she attended the fair and when she ate the sweets, she became stuck there. Now she’s making brooms with Tom (Thomasina) but is still very hesitant to try using her powers. Her friend Hilde is helping them sell them and her familiar, Mort well, he’s funny and always hungry. The whole things could go really wrong problem prevents her from even trying to cool herself using magic, let alone try to clean a place filled with brooms, both magical and normal.

She has a relationship with Pirate Captain Bruce Roberts, and it seems he’s having some problems with his crew. He shows up with a black eye and admits he got into a bit of brawl while drinking. The two of them are discussing that when Bruce hears his friend Freddie cry out trying to stop Lysander from doing something. the next thing we know Freddie is dead.

Apparently, Lysander had jumped on the stage interrupting the performance to propose a vow renewal to his wife Zoe. There is also a big problem between Bruce and Lysander, apparently Lysander has caused a bit of mutiny against Bruce and is now calling himself Captain Lysander.

Bruce gets arrested, at first just for attacking Lysander, but Laidey’s worried the sheriff would add on the murder charge. On top of that a magic broom goes missing while Hilde is minding the store.

As Laidey investigates, she finds Zoe and Freddie were friends. A visit to their coroner, the vampire Vern, reveals the murder weapon was something wooden and cylindrical like a broomstick.

Laidey puts her investigative hat on and in observing the stage area finds there are banners hanging attached to wooden poles.

This is a favorite scene.

I couldn’t explain why Freddie had screamed for Lysander to stop attacking him when Lysander was onstage. But I could imagine a way for someone to get up here to the parapet—the dirt ramp. And maybe I could get a clue about what might’ve been used as a murder weapon. We were looking for something long, thin, and wooden—like a broom handle.I froze. Then leaned forward over the parapet wall, craning my neck to look up toward the conical roof.

“Don’t fall, m’lady!” Hilde grabbed the fabric of my skirt and tugged me back.

I spun and grinned at her and Mort. “The banners!” I pointed around the parapet. Banners in blue, gold, purple, and magenta waved in the morning breeze from the sides of the tower. I ducked under the single strip of crime scene tape and rose on my tiptoes. One pendant-shaped flag waved from the top of the conical roof, but several more banners protruded from the sides, mounted from brackets on—yep—wooden flagpoles.

I swiped at the closest flagpole, but with my short stature, wasn’t quite tall enough to reach it.

“Hilde—I need a boost.”

“Careful, m’lady.” My friend laced her fingers together at thigh height to make a little stirrup for my feet. I placed my red canvas sneaker in her palms, gave a couple of little hops to test it, then stepped up into her hands. I grabbed hold of the flagpole and yanked it out of the bracket, then stepped back down onto the hard dirt ground.

I held the purple flag aloft. A gold lion with gold trim decorated the banner, but it was the pole that had my attention. Just below my grip—in the space that had been hidden by the bracket—dark, brownish red stains discolored the end of the flagpole.

In my shock, I nearly dropped it. Hilde shrieked, and even Mort arched his back and hissed.

The end of the flagpole looked as though it’d been soaked in blood. My chest heaved as I glanced down at the flag in my trembling hand. “Looks like we found the murder weapon.”

While Hilde and Mort headed back to Swept Away to help Tom open for the day, I hurried through the streets of the Faire toward the jail. After initially grabbing the flagpole from the metal bracket with my bare hand, I’d switched to gripping it through the fabric of my shirt, just in case there were any fingerprints to be found.

I held it out in front of me like a bomb about to go off as I passed the whip guy warming up for his first show and the candle shop owner unshuttering her windows. I ignored their curious looks and hung a left at the next intersection.

I sped up to the jail—expecting to have to knock and rouse Boswell from his hangover—but was shocked to find the door open, splintered, and hanging crooked on a broken hinge.

I was even more shocked when I ducked inside and nearly crashed into Zoe. We blinked at each other, eyes round.


The beautiful actress, her dark locks coiled into thick ropes, frowned. “Laidey? What are you doing here?”

I could ask her the same thing. I whipped to face Boswell, who slumped in a chair, flanked by his two greenish trolls. One plied him with a steaming cup of black coffee, while the other offered him a cinnamon roll. I raised a brow. Now that I got a better look at the sheriff, he looked a bit greenish himself.

Boswell burped and covered his mouth with the back of his ring-covered hand. He leaned forward, convulsing again as though he were about to be sick. Past him, the door to his office stood open, exposing the pile of empty wine and mead bottles that spilled out of his wastebasket. I’d heard a rumor that the sheriff had been a bit hard up lately, upset over the recent death of a mermaid he’d had a crush on.

Speaking of crushes—I glanced over at the cells. Bruce sat on the edge of his bench and gave me a weak wave and a half smile. With his rumpled hair and the bags below his eyes, he didn’t look like he’d gotten much sleep. How could he have, with Boswell drinking his troubles away all night?

I gave the pirate a bracing smile, hoping I’d be able to get him out of jail and set the sheriff on the right path to finding Freddie’s murderer.

Sheriff Boswell belched again, straightened in his seat, and scrubbed his hands roughly up and down his face. He swiped the coffee mug from the troll to his right and took a swig before glaring at Zoe and me with narrowed, bloodshot eyes.

“What—in all of Elbion—art you two doing here at this ungodly hour?” His voice was even rougher than usual.

Bruce cleared his throat from his cell. “That’s no way to speak to ladies, Sheriff.” His words dripped with disdain. Usually, Bruce’s tone held a note of levity and teasing—he was rarely angry or upset about anything. Here he was mourning his friend and eager to get justice for him, but couldn’t do anything because he was trapped in that hot, humid cell in the company of the world’s worst lawman.

I had to get Bruce out—and fast.

Boswell, who swayed slightly in his chair—oh good, he was still drunk— shot Bruce a bleary glare. “That little quip just earned you another eight hours in the clink, pirate.” I suspected Boswell was on one of his power trips, exploiting his chance to lord it over Bruce, who was generally well-respected and held a great deal of power in the Faire himself.

Bruce’s face flushed red. “Even after last night?”

Great—so much for getting Bruce out ASAP. And what about last night?

Boswell ignored him and turned back to me and Zoe.

“What do you two want?”

“I found the murder weapon,” Zoe and I said in unison.

We shot each other shocked looks.

I glanced down at the peg leg in her hand, then at the flagpole in mine. What was going on?

Boswell groaned and pointed a thick finger at me.

“You—go first.”

I stepped forward and held out the purple flagpole, which I still gripped with the fabric of my dress. “I talked to Vern—the coroner—and he told me that whatever was used to kill Freddie was made of wood and was long, thin, and cylindrical.”

The troll with the cinnamon roll grunted and elbowed the other behind the sheriff’s back. “Dat—what—she—said.”

I glanced at Bruce, who watched intently from his cell, before presenting the flagpole to the sheriff. “I went to look at the turret this morning where Freddie was bashed over the head, and I found—”

“You went to the turret?” Boswell scowled. “I should arrest you right now for tampering with a crime scene.”

Well, there was that. I probably should have anticipated that might be an issue, but considering what I’d found, he’d have to overlook it… right?

I pushed past it and grumbled, “At least someone’s investigating.”

He narrowed his eyes.

“This is one of the flagpoles mounted around the turret. Look.” I turned it so he could see the base. “It’s covered in what looks like blood.”

Zoe gasped and pressed a hand to her mouth, and Bruce paled. Even Boswell leaned forward and peered at the red stains. The stench of stale booze rolled off him, and I crinkled my nose.

“Hmph.” He jerked his goatee-covered chin at the troll to his right. “Take that into evidence.” He gave me a hard look. “We’ll have Vern test this.”

He took a gulp of his coffee, then gestured with the mug at Zoe. “Next.”

She swept forward and dipped into a graceful curtsy, her long red dress pooling around her. Zoe straightened, her lovely brows pinched as though she were in pain. “Dear Sheriff Boswell, it brings me no great joy but—”

Boswell groaned. “Get on with it—I don’t have all day.”

Zoe pressed her lips together for a moment, then offered him the peg leg. “I do believe I found the murder weapon.” She shot a baffled look my way. “See? There’s a spot here—it looks like blood.”

The sheriff frowned at the reddish spot on the wood. “What is this?”

Zoe’s throat bobbed, and she lifted her chin before she answered. “My husband’s spare peg leg.”
Johnson, Erin. The Taming of the Broom: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 6). Kindle Locations (1066-1127). The Faire Ladies LLC. Kindle Edition.

We learn Bruce’s story about the mutiny and how he became trapped at the fair not that it’s going to help much. He also professes he has feelings for Laidey.Now things are even more complicated as we have two possible murder weapons.

The ensuing investigation gets even more interesting and takes a few twists but Laidey’s not going to give up. She has to find the killer and be sure Bruce is free.

I hope there will be more of these books, they are so much fun.

5 Contented Purrs for Erin!

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Erin Johnson

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!

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