“There are spells for breaking and spells for mending. But there are no spells for forgetting.” ― Adrienne Young, Spells for Forgetting
Emery’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead, and the love of her life, August, was accused of murdering her. When the island, rooted in folklore and magic, shows signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming.
August returns for the first time in fourteen years to bury his mother’s ashes, and by doing so, he unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget. The island has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all.
This book was so interesting. It was the perfect atmospheric read. It was easy to immerse myself in the world Young was describing. I listened to this as an audiobook and even sped up two times it was not fast enough! Each chapter bounces around to different points of view. I think the multiple narrators and timelines added to the story.
The island is eerie and ominous, and the mystery of it was so fun to read as it unraveled. This is the type of book that you will not be able to put down, and it is worth the time! I recommend this story to anyone who likes magic, unsolved murder mysteries, and love stories all wrapped into one.
“She’d spent long enough pretending she wasn’t still recovering from the cancer treatments. It was time to check into her body again.”
― Lynn Cahoon, The Tuesday Night Survivors’ Club
Two things got Rarity through her breast cancer treatments: friends and books. Now cancer-free, Rarity is devoting her life to helping others find their way through the maze of healing. She’s also started the Tuesday Night Survivors book club. It is the perfect fit for Rarity’s bookstore and a close-knit group of survivors.
Their club is disrupted when one of their members suddenly goes missing. Martha has always kept to herself, never opening up much of her personal life to the group. Now she’s nowhere to be found. With her car abandoned on a trail and her dog left home alone, Rarity is sure something terrible has happened—but will she be able to uncover Martha’s secrets before it’s too late?
This is the first book of a new series by Lynn Cahoon.
Honestly, cozy mystery is not really my jam. I wanted to give this one a try because it sounded interesting enough, but the overall story line seemed to drag on compared to many other mysteries I have indulged in. I can’t complain too much though, because the story wrapped up nicely, and although the book seemed slow in a few places, I found it good enough to finish it! If you are a fan of cozy mysteries this is right up your alley.
I did appreciate the fact that the author drew from her own cancer journey. She stated in her dedication that a nurse gave her a bag of cozy mysteries to read during her cancer treatments, and that had made all the difference in her journey. This particular genre is sentimental to the author because of that.
*This is available as an eBook or eAudiobook on Sunflower eLibrary, or potentially through interlibrary loan.
Amy Rogers is a twelve-year old writer who participated in the 2022 Seafarer’s Writing Challenge in which she wrote a 5,000 word original short story this summer. Amy’s contemporary story explores a young girl’s unexpected summer with her aunt which turns bloodier than expected.
Read the full story below!
I was happy with my life. No, I wasn’t just happy with my life, I loved it! I had indoor plumbing, electricity throughout the whole house, a comfortable smelling house [you know that nice scent when you come into a clean inviting house], and best of all I got to watch television and play video games! I didn’t have to worry about goats needing milked, and leaky roofs needing fixed, or even any chores at all. In short, I was a lazy, selfish, entitled princess who only cared about herself and nothing else.
But one day, a week before summer break, my father and stepmother told me something that changed my life forever…
We were so thrilled to offer a take-home murder mystery this season in collaboration with the Big Read. This Greek mythology-themed mystery had you digging through emails, text transcripts, and private journal entries in the hopes of discovering the truth surrounding the mysterious death of Madame Phoebe Gaius.
Now it’s time to reveal the truth!
The suspect who murdered Madame Phoebe is…
Did you guess correctly?
We gave out roughly 140 take-home mystery kits, and of those who submitted answers, 57% of the them were correct with the second most popular guess being Professor Theus!
So why and how exactly did Cassie kill Madame Phoebe?
It all started with Madame Phoebe’s grandson, Apollo. As a member of a prominent Greek family, Apollo attended many public functions that were covered by journalists. At one of these functions, Apollo met renowned art journalist, Cassandra Troy and asked her out on a date. Cassandra rejected his affection, and Apollo was so offended that he used his Instagram platform to discredit Cassandra’s reports. She was subsequently fired from her job at “To Vima,” but Apollo showed no remorse.
Seeking both the truth and revenge, Cassandra started a personal blog, The Oracle, where she researched the Gaius family and soon uncovered actual scandals associated with both the Acropolis Museum and Madame Phoebe.
These scandals were:
In attempts to purchase artifacts that he felt were important, Professor Theus was embezzling funds through the use of a fake cooperation called Pyronix.
Madame Phoebe’s granddaughter, Artemis, refused to get married which greatly strained their relationship. Out of pride, Artemis rejected Phoebe’s money, causing her animal sanctuary to suffer financially. Artemis turned to identity theft and fraud to pay the bills.
Lord Dio Russo, the museum’s event coordinator, hosted parties with unseemly activities, one of which involved an intern suffering from alcohol poisoning.
Madame Phoebe had a tumultuous relationship with her sister, Rhea, involving their inheritance. Rhea, the eldest, was passed over in favor of Phoebe, and this caused tensions in the family
Madame Phoebe and Mr. Z, the museum’s curator, were engaged years ago, but Mr. Z was caught in an affair with his personal assistant, and Madame Phoebe broke off the engagement.
Having had experience running a popular gardening blog in her spare time, Cassandra’s new blog gained traction, particularly with other media outlets like the gossip journal, Kous Kous, which hired her on as a social media journalist. This gave Cassandra a little more access to the family, and she truly thought if their secrets were revealed, it would destroy them.
No one believed her, and Madame Phoebe sent a Cease and Desist out, threatening a lawsuit. Cassandra sent flowers to Madame Phoebe as a peace offering, but the threat within the flowers, the “devil’s bread” or poisonous hemlock flower, didn’t go unnoticed. Cassandra was enraged that no one believed her about the scandals at the museum or the wrongs this family was committing.
After the Cease and Desist was sent, Cassandra decided to torment Madame Phoebe with the truth by sending her the box with all of the evidence. She also started stalking her, leading Phoebe to believe she was seeing shadows.
On the day of Mythos Fantastikos, Cassandra used the party’s disorganization to her advantage, swiping a press pass and sneaking about in the kitchens. An avid gardener, Cassandra knew that hemlock would be mistaken for another leafy green and placed it on Madame Phoebe’s plate of ambrosia salad. Madame Phoebe suffered from coniine poison, a toxic chemical found in hemlock. The hemlock is a nod to the death of Socrates, the Greek philosopher.
What mythology-based clues hinted at the true killer?
Besides the evidence in the documents, a few clues based upon Greek mythology were included. Seven Greek gods were presented in the box as well as six items. These gods were associated with the seven deadly sins, and the items correlated to the gods. The gods also correlated to the seven suspects.
Plutus and coins = greed, Professor Theus
Eros and roses = lust, Mr. Z
Adephegia and grapes = gluttony, Lord Dio
Lyssa and sword = wrath, Cassandra
Phthonus and eye = envy, Countess Rhea
Hybris and mirror = pride, Artemis
Aergia and no item (due to laziness) = sloth, Apollo
In Madame Phoebe’s journal entry, she said that the statue of the goddess, Lyssa, seemed to be watching her and that she believed the goddess of wrath to be the most feared. Also below Cassandra’s blog was a quote from the Greek dramatist, Menander, that said “the sword the body wounds, sharp words the mind” referencing both the power of words and the power of the sword.
What other connections to Greek mythology were in the story?
Each suspect was inspired by a Greek god or goddess. Readers could say that it’s all a coincidence or they can decide if perhaps these suspects were in fact gods disguised as mortals. It’s up to you!
Madame Phoebe = the Titaness, Phoebe
Phoebe’s last name comes from a blend of Uranus and Gaia, the titans’ parents. Phoebe also had twin grandchildren, Apollo and Artemis. In mythology, Zeus actually had a relationship with Phoebe’s daughter, Leto, but Letitia (the personal assistant) is a nod to her.
Cassandra Troy = the Trojan priestess, Cassandra
The story goes that when Cassandra rejected the god Apollo, he cursed her to always speak of true prophecies but that no one would believe her.
Apollo Barros = the Greek god, Apollo
Apollo talks about “keeping things shiny” and “bringing things into the light” referencing the sun. Apollo also puts himself into the light via the most modern method; Instagram!
Artemis Barros = the Greek goddess, Artemis
The goddess Artemis is a hunter and protector of wildlife, hence Artemis Barros running an animal sanctuary. The god Orion is actually one of Artemis’ closest companions, and all the names of the identities that Artemis stole are names that the goddess also used.
Lord Dio Russo = the Greek god, Dionysus
Like Dionysus, the god of wine, Lord Dio loves to party hard, sometimes with reckless abandon. The reference to “Dove Coeur” is actually a nod to Aphrodite and her relationship with the Greek god.
Mr. Z = The Greek god, Zeus
Though in the myths, Zeus had a relationship with Phoebe’s daughter, Leto, we reference it in the story with the mention of Letitia, the assistant who broke up their engagement.
Professor Theus = The Greek god, Prometheus
Professor Theus is embezzling money to purchase items that he thinks are important. He is sending this money to a fake organization called Pyronix, referencing the story of Prometheus’ gift of fire to the humans. His first name, Metis, is also a Greek word meaning “magical cunning.”
Countess Rhea Crohn = the Greek goddess, Rhea
The goddess Rhea is really Phoebe’s sister in mythology and though she was considered “the mother of the gods,” she had no real following or place of worship. Similar to the story’s Rhea, the goddess Rhea was slighted by the more popular deities. The goddess Rhea did marry Cronus which is noted by our Rhea’s last name.
We hope you all enjoyed taking this mystery home and exploring the clues and story. Thank you to all of you for participating, and be on the lookout for more mysteries like this coming to the Derby Public Library soon!
This week’s blog post is a little different. I have been sick and not really feeling like reading. Sleeping has been a priority for me in the last few days but I have some books that I am really excited about starting.
In December our staff participated in a murder mystery instead of having a traditional Christmas party. Everything was designed by our amazingly talented teen coordinator, Alyssa. She designed everything around a secret society whose goal is to protect and preserve literary works. Over several weeks we were emailed clues then asked to put everything together and reveal the murderer, why they were committing the crime and what the important document was all about. Let me tell you, it was HARD! I truly do not know how Miss Alyssa’s mind holds all of this.
After weeks of pouring over the clues I found out that I had won the grand prize! A $100 gift card to Watermark Books & Cafe! My next free weekend was spent browsing their shelves looking for just the right books. I picked out seven books and an enamel pin. Trust me it was not easy to decide but I did it.
So hopefully I will be feeling better by the weekend so I can start on some of these books. If you are interested in winning a gift card to Watermark Books then enter our For the Love of Reading challenge on Beanstack. It runs from February 2-14, 2020. You still have time to log books. The more you read the more chances you have to win!