A Charmed Death (Bewitching Series #2)

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Maggie O'Neill must turn on her own charms-mystical and otherwise-while investigating the death of one of her customers from the antique shop, Enchantments.

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A Charmed Death (Bewitching Series #2)

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Maggie O'Neill must turn on her own charms-mystical and otherwise-while investigating the death of one of her customers from the antique shop, Enchantments.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The second installment of Madelyn Alt's Bewitching Mystery saga -- a narrative blend of amateur whodunit, paranormal fantasy, and tongue-in-cheek chick lit that features lovable protagonist Maggie O'Neill -- finds the almost-30-year-old single resident of Stony Mill, Indiana, at the center of a murder mystery involving illicit sex, arcane witchcraft, and more than a few otherworldly spirits.

With just a few weeks until Christmas, O'Neill's job as a clerk at Enchantments, an upscale gift shop owned by her friend Felicity Dow, is as hectic as it is exciting. But when O'Neill witnesses a teenage goth girl getting brutally picked on by a trio of mean classmates, her intuition warns her that something very bad is about to happen. When one of the assailants turns up dead a few days later, O'Neill's curiosity gets the best of her and she investigates -- only to uncover a secret sex blog that implicates some of Stony Mill's most respected residents…

Mystery fans who seek out "feel-good" reads for their literary escapism (books by authors like Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harris, Kyra Davis, et al.) should definitely check out Alt's Bewitching Mystery saga, which is powered by her Everywoman heroine O'Neill. A small-town girl struggling to find her place in the world, she has an optimistic and idealistic outlook on an oftentimes malevolent and depressing reality -- as well an addiction to old episodes of Magnum P.I. -- that makes her one of the most refreshing and endearing protagonists to grace the amateur sleuth genre in years. Alt certainly picked the right name for this series. It's a bewitching saga by a positively witchy chick. Highly recommended. Paul Goat Allen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425213179
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/5/2006
  • Series: Bewitching Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 461,912
  • Product dimensions: 6.74 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Interviews & Essays

Ransom Notes Interview with Madelyn Alt Paul Goat Allen: Madelyn, how exactly did you get into writing? And what was the motivation behind writing a romantic, paranormal mystery? Those kind of genre-blending books are very popular right now, and I was wondering if the success of other authors like Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, et al., had any effect on you in any way… Madelyn Alt: I wish I could say that I had the foresight to see the success of the genre-benders you mentioned and to try my own hand at it. I actually started out writing what I read most often in my teen years and early 20s: historical romance. I'm a real Anglophile and I love history, so it seemed natural for me to focus in that area. And though I have also been a paranormal buff since childhood, it never once occurred to me to try to write it into my historical manuscripts. Weird, I know, but true. The truth is, years and years of rejection were the real cause of my sudden decision to try something new and completely different. I had had enough. Enough of the rejections, however nicely worded, and enough of the requests to see "something else." It's amazing how incredibly freeing giving up the ghost can be. I decided that I might not be selling, but at least I could, by God, be happy writing something just for myself. Something that didn't follow a guideline, that wasn't written to market or genre rules -- and if it flaunted those rules, so much the better. That makes me sound like such a rebel…but all I really wanted was to feel the joy in the creation process again. And I did. The Trouble with Magic flowed from me, well, er, like magic. When it was finished, I took a good look at it and thought, Huh. You know, that's not half bad. Why not give it one last shot? By that time, I had found Kim Harrison's wonderful Rachel Morgan series and Charlaine Harris's Dead series and recognized that this book and my ideas for more could probably, possibly, with a teensy bit of luck, fit in with that same readership. The success these fine authors enjoyed gave me hope, and that was so important to me after years of struggling. PGA: What was the hardest thing about getting the first book published? MA: If a writer isn't blessed with an agent, I would have to say the Great Agent Safari is probably going to be one of the hardest obstacles for a new author to overcome. It's also absolutely necessary. With that out of the way, the next hurdle was finding a publisher that wasn't put off by the cross-genre aspects of the series, one that had a clear vision of how to publish it well. Berkley has been wonderfully supportive. PGA: Predictable question here, but how much are you and Maggie O'Neill alike? Do you have the hots for Tom Selleck, too? MA: How did I know you would ask that? Maggie and I are like sisters. I know her every thought, her every doubt, her every worry. Her struggles. Her triumphs. I will admit, there are some aspects of her that are very much like me, and then there are elements of Maggie that belong to her alone. (I think she likes it that way.) And as for Tom Selleck.... Well. A girl has to be allowed her secrets. PGA: Did you consciously create Maggie as an Everywoman kind of heroine so that any female reader -- and male, for that matter -- could identify with her? You know: an average kind of character who is kind of stumbling through life but with a ton of potential… MA: This may sound a bit weird, but I'm not sure I had much of a hand in creating Maggie at all. Maggie simply IS. She came to me fully formed in a kind of "stream of consciousness" flow of words and images, completely out of the blue. Remember, at the time I was writing straight historical romance told strictly from a third-person point of view. What came to me, oh-so-compellingly, was three pages straight from Maggie's point of view. Obviously not romance, obviously not historical, and obviously first person. I'd never done any of that. I didn't even know if I could. This might disappoint those who see authors as mystical, creative beings, wholly in charge of the worlds they build and the people who inhabit them. I feel very fortunate now, looking back, that Maggie is as normal and irreverent as she is -- she keeps things fun and fresh for me. That being said, I love the fact that Maggie is someone that I can relate to, and I love hearing that she resonates with others as well. PGA: The aspect of your Bewitching Mystery novels that I just love is the pure benevolence of Maggie and her -- for lack of a better phrase -- healing energy. In the B&N review, I compared these novels to Janet Evanovich in that they're really "feel-good" reads at heart; I finish one of your books feeling better somehow about the world around me. Is that your goal with these books -- a little healing escapism? MA: First of all, thank you. I love Maggie's energy, too, as well as that of her friends. They're good people -- a little quirky and off-the-beaten-track, but good. One concept that was important to me to present was that goodness is not limited to one concept of spirituality, that you will find both good and bad in all walks of life. This is shown on a smaller scale within Stony Mill proper. For reasons that no one immediately understands, Stony Mill is simmering with unrest, both physically and spiritually. Its people are suffering along with it, in fear and in doubt and in despair, and they are acting out in response to those provocations…but there are moments of light. Perhaps they are no more than pinpricks at times, but still they are there, and while the world goes quietly mad around them, these rays of light bring a bit of sanity to their situations. I think that's an important lesson -- that if someone is looking for light, they will find it. It's there. They might have to look a little harder to find it, but it's there. So, for me, Maggie is a part of the light. She is a reminder of the core goodness of humanity, even as they plot their way through the unseen reaches of the spirit world that most people tend to fear. PGA: You share a blog with some other female paranormal fiction writers, aptly called the Witchy Chicks. How has the popularity of the blog affected your readership? MA: The fun thing about the Witchy Chicks is the sense of camaraderie we all share, the encouragement and support we give each other. Our blog is a "feel good" place. I love that. Our readers come to us knowing what they can expect: a bunch of really cool chicks talking about subjects that interest them, sometimes paranormal and sometimes not. They also have the opportunity to make their own comments in response to our posts, and as a result we often have a sort of dialogue going on back and forth between authors and readers that we all enjoy. We have readers who speak up on a regular basis, and we have many who lurk along, ever so quietly. It's all good. PGA: What's next on the Madelyn Alt "to write" list? Are you going to continue with the Bewitching Mystery novels or have you thought about writing something new? MA: Right now, I would have to say the Bewitching series is my number one priority, as I just accepted a deal for books four through six with Berkley Prime Crime and have ideas for so many more. But who knows? A writer always has ideas knocking around in her head, clamoring for attention. Thank goodness! I wouldn't know how to cope if I didn't.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 83 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 84 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    A cute addition to the series

    I liked this book, but not as much as the first one. It has second child syndrome but not as bad as it could have been. It's still a good read.

    Maggie finds herself once again thrown into the town's current murder drama when a rambunctious and prominent high school girl, Amanda Roberson, goes missing soon after her visit at the antique store Maggie works at.

    At this part it's sort of made unclear why Maggie feels the need as an antique store worker, that's not particularly close to the girl, to dive in on trying to find out where she is but I guess that's me nitpicking. The story has to start off somewhere right?

    A few hours later Amanda's car is found under an old abandon covered wooden bridge and the murder investigation starts. Maggie really starts getting into the investigation when Amanda's mother wanted to return the clock Amanda had bought that day for her Christmas present. Hidden inside the clock was some incriminating photos with Amanda entertaining an older gentleman, along with evidence she was running an underground sex blog that the high school population was frequenting.

    Tom, her love interest to be, (for reasons I don't entirely understand, he seems like your typical small town narrow minded bigoted cop), doesn't make much of a return in this one but her sidekick in all these little mysteries so far, Marcus Quinn, does. Maggie seems to think he and her boss and friend Felicity have this torrid May-September romance going on but it's painfully obvious they don't. It's just kind of ridiculous, in my opinion, she is supposed to be this crime solving wiz and the reader (us) is sitting there going, "Oh give me a break. Could it be anymore clear that there is nothing going on?".

    A few chapters before it ended I knew who it was. It being the dastardly murderer of said high school tramp Amanda Roberson. The mysteries are a little better than standard but the series is more than that. It has genuine pagan witchcraft as it is today and not any of that Charmed crap. (Sorry if you liked Charmed, I personally hated it) You get an understanding of who modern witches are. Both the flighty and powder puff types to the vastly intelligent personality set. The rituals and tools explained in the book are genuine information that witches use in practice today, so if this series succeeds and becomes mainstream at least it is contributing to easing some of the horrid stereotypes inflicted upon this religion.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Light Reading....

    If you're looking for some light reading, you'll like this series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A great book to read yourself into

    This book has its hint of romance and also some jelousy between Tom and Marcus. The words flow easily and its easy to lose yourself into the book. It has a well thought plot line and keeps its reader guessing. A wonderful mystery novel with loving characters like Felicity Dow and Maggie O'Neill. Love the small western town setting and the lovely stores described in this story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    magical spellbinding mystery

    The time Maggie O¿Neill entered the store Enchantments and met the owner Felcity Dow, her worldview changed drastically. Felicity is a psychic and a witch and Maggie learns she is one too. That explains her hunches, feelings of empathy and the ability to see ghosts her powers are growing stronger and more refined because Felicity is teaching her how to use them. --- She now works in Enhancements and one day she witnesses a fight between popular high school student Amanda Roberson and Tara Murphy, one of the most unliked teens at school. Amanda disappears that night she is found in the river with a subsequent autopsy proving she was murdered. Maggie starts nosing around and finds that the secret blog that talks about the sexual exploits of a teen and her lovers were written by Maggie. She discovers pictures that Amanda hid in a gift that she bought at Enhancements and her mother returns to Maggie. When Maggie sees the picture, she figures out who the killer is but the murderer grabs her before she can go to the police and almost kills her. It will take the conscious use of her magic (which she never tried before) to get out of this situation alive. --- A CHARMED DEATH is a magical spellbinding mystery that enchants readers with its adorable heroine who has trouble coming to terms with the fact that she is psychic and can perform magic. Her asides are a breath of fresh air that relieves the tension when it threatens to overwhelm the audience. There is also a message in this tale that parents should watch over there teens to make sure they stay out of trouble and especially watch the warning signs. --- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Another winner

    Having read this second book in this series, I want to move to Indiana and work at Enchantments! Great cozy read. I loved the ending and didn't see it coming. Can't wait to read the next installment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2014

    I love the story telling and the characters. I love nice cozy

    I love the story telling and the characters. I love nice cozy stories with some unexpected turns and development of her and the others. Very witty. I miss reading them and I wish she would have more soon.

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  • Posted April 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    This series is for anyone who has ever believed in magic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2010

    Fun Continues...

    I liked the plot of this book. Continue to like the tone and attitude with which Madelyn Alt writes. A little annoyed with Maggie's passiveness and the character Tom needs some work. I felt in this book and the first that the author isn't sure which direction to take.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I enjoyed this book

    In this book the character is learning how to cope with being a witch..I had a good time reading ......helps you to escape and becomes a hard book to put down....

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  • Posted September 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun Read

    This is the second in the series so be sure to start with the first. Both books were interesting and fun to read. I enjoyed them thouroughly and will be picking up #3 in the series very soon.

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  • Posted August 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I'm Charmed!

    I'm always looking for new series to cuddle up with, and the Bewitching series is a great choice. The books are fun and the characters are enjoyable. Great pick for a rainy (or snowy) day.

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  • Posted April 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Charming 2nd Book in the Series

    If you are looking for a fun read this is a great series!
    Very light hearted reading mysteries with a bit of magic added in for fun.
    I love all the characters and the "love triangle" Maggie is finding herself in.
    I have read the first 2 books in the series so far and I am now 2/3 through the 3rd (Hex marks the Spot).
    I have No Rest for the Wiccan waiting to read next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Paranormal Mystery Series

    4.0 out of 5 stars Great Paranormal Mystery Series, March 29, 2009

    Maggie works with Felicity Dow, Lis, at Enchantments. This takes place just before Christmas. A new girl to school, Tara Murphy, is in looking at the different books for witches, when the popular girls from school come in to get a gift for the leader, Amanda's, mother. There is a situation between the two girls and two of Amanda's friends, which Maggie breaks up. Shortly there after, Amanda has gone missing. While looking for her, Maggie come upon Tara casting a Binding Spell. This does not look like a normal missing person.

    Then Amanda is found dead. So, the hunt begins to find out if it was accidental or murder. Maggie finds a secret blog on the local town site. The blog is from a high school girl and her different sexual exploits. While comforting Amanda's mother, Maggie is given a disc that she is asked to find out what is on it. When looking at the disc, Maggie matches a picture to the background of the secret blog. It is learned that Amanda was murdered. Now Maggie has to find out who did it and why.

    At the same time, Maggie is trying to get together and start dating local cop Tom. But she is attracted to Marcus. While fighting off her over bearing mother and get used to the powers that have be developing.

    This is a great story. There are so many things going on that I didn't expect who the killer was. It is great. I do have to say that Maggie needs to give up on Tom and go after Marcus, better looking, more accepting of her abilities, and would just make a great match.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2008

    Definetly worth the read

    Don't get side tracked by the 'magical and witch' title and review. This is a real person who is learning to trust her 'gut instinct' and like all of us, doubt ourselves.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2007

    Madelyn Alt Triumphs again !

    We all see, or want to see some of ourselves in Madelyn Alt's Maggie O'Neil. Uncertain, unsure, insecure, Maggie seems to face the same mundane trials of daily life we all do, except Magick keeps getting in the way. When Challenged, Maggie proves to be more than up to the task. Be it murder or the metaphysical, Maggie has an appetite and an uncanny talent for finding the truth. Treat yourself, treat your' sister, sister-in-law, cousins, aunts, friends, everyone you like to the Magical, mayhem that is Maggie O'Neil's life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2006

    A Spellbinding Read

    From the beginning to the end this was a book that would not let me put it down. Every time I would set it aside to do something else, I kept findind reasons to go back until reaching the spellbinding end!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2006

    More Fun after Trouble

    Another great read courtesy of Madelyn Alt. The next book in this series is a year from now. However, it will be worth the wait. This book is fun and although, I wish it were longer every bit of it is enjoyable. I'm looking forward to learning about the N.I.G.H.T.S. and the rest of Maggie's friends. It is a great series and should be popular with people who enjoy Charlaine Harris. I enjoyed it and have read this book several times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 84 Customer Reviews

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