Bast: Bell, Book, and Murder

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Rosemary Edghill Bast: Speak Daggers to Her, Book of Moons, The Bowl of NightBast: Bell, Book, and Murder by Rosemary Edghill

Speak Daggers to Her, The Book of Moons, and The Bowl of Night are some of the best fiction about modern witches I’ve seen yet. And the main reason why is the heroine — Bast. In Bast, Rosemary Edghill creates a delightful heroine with a deep belief in the Goddess and magic — and also with a barbed tongue that deftly skewers the politics and foibles of the Pagan community. Even if there had been no plot in these three novels, I would have kept reading just to “listen” to Bast talk. And as an added bonus, there is a plot.

Speak Daggers to Her: An old friend of Bast’s dies of seemingly natural causes in her apartment. Bast discovers that her friend had gotten mixed up in a cult — could this be related?

The Book of Moons: Probably my favorite of the three, because of the historical speculation. Several New York Wiccans find their Books of Shadows missing. Then, an obnoxious newbie shows up at a picnic brandishing a book he is certain is the BOS of Mary Queen of Scots. Then someone ends up dead. How are all these things connected? Read on…

The Bowl of Night: Bast thought the most confusing part of the Samhain retreat would be sharing a cabin with handsome ceremonial magician Julian. But when a local fundamentalist preacher ends up dead on the campsite, things keep getting weirder…

I’m not sure how well these books work as mysteries, since the solution is generally not hard to figure out. I guess I’m just used to the sort of mysteries with 85 red herrings, and no concrete clues until the last two pages, when suddenly the culprit kidnaps the sleuth and reveals the whole plot. Actually, I find that I like Edghill’s more straightforward style better, since the mystery is gradually revealed in layers instead of completely hidden and then suddenly sprung on the reader. (I just want to warn readers of the more usual sort of mysteries that these work a little differently.)

As for me, I like them. I only wish this were an ongoing series.

Bast — (1994-1996) This omibus edition contains the entire trilogy: 1. Speak Daggers to Her 2. Book of Moons 3. The Bowl of Night. Publisher: Bast (alias Karen Hightower) is a single white witch, entirely at home in the New Age Nineties. But when a close friend dies suddenly, possibly the victim of a magic spell, Bast must turn detective to find out who killed Mirian Seabrook — and how.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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  1. Failure of Moonlight: A collection of Bast stories | Fantasy Literature: Fantasy and Science Fiction Book and Audiobook Reviews - [...] you have not yet read the BAST mystery trilogy (shown to the right), you should read that first, as there’s…

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