The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (The Curious Affair Of #2)

I only fairly recently read and enjoyed the first Curious Affair book in the series and so I was more than happy to discover that the second was available to request.  The Witch at Wayside Cross was a really enjoyable, gothic feeling story that for me established this series as one that I definitely want to continue reading.

The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief was a great start to series, I had a few niggles but overall I enjoyed it, I had fun, and it was great to get back to Victorian era detecting.  The second in series builds on the original premise, it takes the mystery outside of the streets of London and carries our main characters into the depths of the countryside where they are beset on all sides by folklore, shrieking pits, ghosts and witches not to mention a good bit of good old fashioned murder.

We start the story with a man arriving at a late hour at the door of Jesperson and Lane.  The man is quite obviously in the grips of terror and after pointing an accusing finger at Lane and calling her a witch promptly drops dead.  Charles Manning, although a relatively young man in good health appears to all intents to have had a massive heart attack.  Jesperson suspects poisoning may be involved and following a trail of crumbs locates Charles brother who ends up giving the pair of would-be detectives their next case.  They swiftly travel to the village of Aylmerton and begin to track down Manning’s friends and acquaintances which turn into a most unlikely bunch.

There are plenty of characters in this episode.  Revered Ringer and his puritanical wife are where our duo take up rooms when they arrive in the village.  Charles also stayed at the Vicarage and his belongings await his return.  It seems that the Reverend liked Charles and tried to dissuade him from associating with Felix Ott.  Ott is a folklore advocate who wants to establish a school to teach ancient beliefs before they’re lost to time.  Of course the Reverend is strongly opposed to anything relating to superstition that opposes the Christian belief.  On top of this we make the acquaintance of the Bulstrode Sisters, a coven no less – the elder sister being familiar with remedies and being befriended by a Crow make it easy to see where the whispers of witchcraft spring from.  Could it be that Charles become romantically entangled with one of them.  As you can see lots of potential leads to follow.

I have to say that I loved the set up for this story, it takes its time a little but was a delicious build up, creepy settings, whisperings, talk of evil doings, country lanes, dark nights, foreboding forests and hints at the supernatural – not to mention fairy rings with red and white spotted mushrooms.  Come on.  I loved every minute of it and couldn’t get enough.  Plus, there’s this whole Holmes/Watson vibe going on here – the detecting isn’t the same, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about the era that makes me think of Conan Doyle not to mention that this story has the Baskerville Vibe going on with the move out of the City and into the country and Lane has become our very own Watson – at least that’s the way I’m reading things.  She’s the one who narrates and she’s also the one who ends up in situations, dealing with issues, maybe even stumbling upon things by accident whilst Jesperson is off somewhere doing his thing.

Now, niggles.  Well, not much to mention to be honest.  I think I would have preferred this if the mystery hadn’t doubled up to become two mysteries – I liked the focus of the first and in a way I think I would have enjoyed it if the supernatural possibilities therein had played out in that plot arc to become something more.  As it is we have a second mystery which feels a little bit latched on at this point although it could be that all these elements are building into something more – at the moment it feels a little bit like there’s a struggle going on to blend the supernatural elements into the tale although, as I say, it could all be part of a bigger plan.

I think this series is developing really well, I like the characters, although there’s clearly something mysterious with Jesperson that hasn’t yet been revealed (or at least I suspect there is) and I very much look forward to seeing what comes next.

Finally – do me a favour and just look at those two covers – I love em!

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my on opinion.




13 Responses to “The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (The Curious Affair Of #2)”

  1. Tammy

    This sounds so good! I have a soft spot for Victorian era stories and I’d love to have time to read more of them.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m enjoying these, I think there are a few little issues that need ironing out but I’m finding them fun.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    This review is timely because a surprise copy of this book showed up in the mail this week. I didn’t get far in the first book because I think at the time I just wasn’t in the mood for the style or setting (definitely a “me” thing, not the book) so in light of your praise for this series I definitely have to give it another try.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think this series is coming along well, I had a few niggles in the first, less so in this one and who know for No.3!
      Lynn 😀

  3. sjhigbee

    I love the cover and this one sounds right up my street:). Thank you for a great review, Lynn:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I enjoyed this one. I think this is a series that I could absolutely love.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        And I’ve just managed to get hold of this one via Netgalley:))

      • @lynnsbooks

        I hope you enjoy it. I’m enjoying the series but to be honest I think these can be read as standalone and this one definitely builds quite well on the first.
        Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        I’ll be putting that to the test – you know me… I seem to make a speciality of crashing midway into series:)

      • @lynnsbooks

        Well, so far your series crashing seems to be paying off so I’d keep up the good work!
        Lynn 😀

  4. Danya @ Fine Print

    Your review of the first book got me intrigued, but this one has sold me on the series! I’m always impressed when a sequel builds upon the success of the first book and delivers an even better story than the previous one. Plus it’s been ages since I’ve read something with a Gothic vibe!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think my only quibble with this series at the moment is there is a bit of a disjoint between the supernatural elements and the Victorian detective styles – I do think this one builds strongly on the first though and has a great feel with the whole ‘witches’ element.
      Lynn 😀

  5. August : My Month in Review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Curious Affair of the Witch of Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle […]

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