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The Divine Circle of Ladies Courting Trouble…

The Divine Circle of Ladies Courting Trouble (Circle, Book 4)

by Dolores Stewart Riccio

Series: Circle (4)

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The “Ladies” the title refers to are Cassandra Shipton and her four friends, all of whom are followers of the Wicca religion, all of whom have supernatural powers and a history of crime solving in Plymouth MA. In The Divine Circle of Ladies Courting Trouble, the crimes they’re trying to solve involve poisoning– all at pot-luck events. The first victim is Lydia Craig, an elderly woman who, as it turns out, leaves most of her sizable estate to the pastor of the Garden of Gethsemane Presbyterian Church.

The Ladies – Cass, Diedre, Fiona, Heather and Phillipa – zero in on the Craig family -- whose members were almost entirely cut out of Lydia Craig’s will. As they go about their everyday business, the ladies use their natural curiosity and supernatural powers to determine which of the family members might have done the crime. Soon, they and Reverend Peacedale are targeted – by the murderer? – with some dirty and possibly deadly tricks.

I had high hopes for this book, thinking that I might learn something about Wicca. Although the author threw around unfamiliar words related to Wiccan beliefs and celebration, she didn’t make much of an attempt to put anything in context. I guess it was too much to hope she’d enlighten me as the late Harry Kemelman did about the Jewish faith in his Rabbi Small books.

Several stumbling blocks got in the way of my enjoying the book. The author has an out-of-control need to give names to people who are only mentioned in passing. I believe authors should stick to naming characters that are truly important in the story; otherwise the reader tries hopelessly to keep the names all straight when it’s not necessary. It was so annoying I went back and counted the names (I’m not usually that obsessive). I came up with more than 80 human and a dozen animal names scattered throughout. I also thought the plot was pretty thin and the entire book was even further watered down by endless “stuff” that had nothing to do with the story. All this was topped off by an incredibly unsatisfying resolution.

Review based on publisher- or author-provided review copy. ( )
  NewsieQ | Jan 27, 2011 |
Fourth (and so far, last) in the “Circle” mysteries, featuring five Wiccan coven-mates in Plymouth, MA who always seem to get tangled up in various nefarious plots and crimes happening around town. The main character is Cassandra Shipton, a herbalist and small businesswoman who sells herbs, potions, lotions and the like. Recently married to Joe, her Greenpeace-employed, globe-trotting Greek, Cass tries to settle in to her new routine, but someone in Plymouth is using hemlock to poison the chocolate-lovers of the town! The poisoner strikes a church ladies meeting, the taping of a cable network food show and even a Thanksgiving dinner being held for the homeless! Who is behind it? And is it just a mad poisoner, or is there an actual intended victim? Cass gets flashes of an answer, but only small clues at a time, and by the time she gets all the answers, it’s nearly too late! I do hope the author continues this series—this is the last one for now, but I hope it’s not too long before Cass, Phillipa, Heather, Fiona and Deirdre and their families and friends are back making more magic for us again! ( )
  Spuddie | Sep 27, 2008 |
This is the fourth in Dolores Stewart Riccio's series about a Wiccan herbalist, Cass Shipton, and the other ladies in her circle. It is the best fictional series I know that depicts Wicca well. In this case the ladies try to solve poisonings happening in their hometown of Plymouth, Massachusetts. I've loved the whole series (once past a very grim scene that starts the first book) and I Want More! ( )
  reannon | Aug 23, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0758209878, Paperback)

October in New England is a grand time - great for carving pumpkins, throwing Halloween parties, baking and eating brownies, and...dropping dead? When a helmlock-laced brownie at the church hospitality hour spells the end for an elderly townswoman, Cass Shipton and her circle of fabulous friends get to work using their very special brand of detective skills to ferret out the culprit. After all, their unorthodox recipe of magic, clairvoyance, and good old-fashioned common sense hasn't let them down yet...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:22 -0400)

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