Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Bell, Book and Murder" by Rosemary Edghill

Thanks must go out to the Bookbabe's little sis, who thought she'd like this book. I'm sorry it took me so long to read it, but you were right!!

This book is subtitled "The Bast Novels" because they are all about Bast, aka Karen Hightower, a practicing NeoPagan Wiccan in New York City. We follow Bast in her day-to-day life, which involves her job as a graphic designer (old-school style - no Desktop here!), her on-again-off-again job for The Snake, a store specializing in things Wiccan, and the coven she belongs to, Changing, led by High Priestess Belleflower. They are also about the murder mysteries that she finds herself becoming a part of, ones that involve that same NeoPagan community.

The murder mysteries themselves are OK. I think the greater attraction of these books, at least for me, is the character development. I found Bast and her friends to be very interesting, and I was fascinated by the descriptions of the NeoPagan Wiccan community at large. Because there are different covens with different ways of worshipping. Some are more matriarchal, worshipping the Goddess. Some are more shamanic, often involving some sort of "blooding" (at least, there is in one of the covens). It's a very different world, and yet, it's not. The thing that resonated with me in all 3 of the books was that each of the coven members wanted a place to belong, a place where they felt safe and respected. These witches really just want what everyone else wants - someone to love. Well, at least I think Bast does.

Even though some of the action didn't take the direction I was hoping for, I do admire Ms. Edghill for staying true to her characters. Unfortunately, the only other work that includes Bast that I could find was a short story in a collection that was published quite a few years ago. Ms. Edghill is still writing, primarily science fiction and as a co-author with Mercedes Lackey. I don't know if Ms. Edghill has any plans for future Bast books, but I would love to read more about her. If anyone out there has a more definite answer for me, please let me know!

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