Chili Cauldron Curse by Lynn Cahoon
Published: August 25, 2020
Chili Cauldron Curse is a paranormal cozy mystery. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the genre, a cozy mystery typically features an amateur sleuth–usually just an ordinary member of society, like a teacher, a bookshop owner or, in this case, a kind kitchen witch. This ordinary person is thrust into an extraordinary circumstance brought on by the heinous killing of an innocent person. The would-be detective, surrounded by an endearingly eccentric supporting cast, must follow a trail of clues and solve the crime before anyone else gets hurt.*
Chili Cauldron Curse is a prequel to One Poison Pie, the first book in the Kitchen Witch Mystery series. This fun novella serves as an introduction to Mia Malone, the heroine of the new series. Mia works as head caterer at her boyfriend’s restaurant in Boise, Idaho and she manages to live a pretty normal life despite being a witch. The story is predominantly set in Magic Springs, a small town where Mia’s grandmother lives. When Grans asks Mia to help get the local food bank organized and ready to reopen, Mia is only too happy to oblige. Despite the work that lies ahead of her, everything seems to be going great…until she notices a foul, lingering smell coming from behind a pile of unopened boxes. It is here where she finds the body of Dorian Alexander, a warlock and head of the Magic Springs coven. Worse still, Mia’s grandmother rapidly climbs to the top of the prime suspect list, making it all the more imperative that Mia solve the murder as quickly as possible.
Overall, I think this novella served its purpose well: it was meant to be an introduction to Mia and to the Kitchen Witch Mystery series, and I think it did a splendid job. Mia looks to be a very promising heroine: she is intelligent, kind, helpful, and resourceful—attributes which are perfect for the star of a cozy mystery. I really liked her grandmother’s character as well. She’s a fun witch who cares deeply for her granddaughter’s happiness, knits, cooks, does yoga, and accidentally causes Mia’s cat to become possessed by a spirit. On that note, I am a big fan of the paranormal genre and I thoroughly enjoyed all the witchy elements to this novella. I’m looking forward to learning more about the Magic Springs coven in the books to come.
While the actual mystery portion of the novella was very light, again, that was likely not the main goal here. This novella, I think, was meant to serve more as introduction than investigation. However, I look forward to really diving into the details of a case in the next book.
This is the first of Lynn Cahoon’s books that I have read, but I have heard a lot of great things about her writing. Based on the taste (ahem, terribly pun alert) I got so far, I can’t wait to dive into One Poison Pie!