A killer takes a spin through Salem . . .
Lee Barrett has agreed to attend a storage auction with Aunt Ibby—even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. Her skepticism vanishes once the two win a bid on an overlooked locker and uncover a trove of beautiful curiosities, including a stunning wooden carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint. But just before Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop, the sight of a silver samovar awakens her psychic abilities and conjures visions of murder.
Lee prays the intrusive ESP episode was just a glimpse into the past—until her policeman boyfriend reports a dead man outside the repair shop. Apparently, the unknown victim had been hot on Lee’s trail since the auction. And with the horse found dismantled, it looks like he was up to no good. What’s the story behind the antique equine, and could a strange bubblegum-chewing woman with fiery hair have something to do with the crime? Guided by her gift and O’Ryan, her wise tabby cat, Lee’s set on catching the murderer . . . before she’s sent on the darkest ride of her life.
Praise for The Witch City Mysteries
“Perfectly relaxing and readable.”– Kirkus Reviews
“This rewarding paranormal cozy series debut will have Victoria Laurie fans lining up to follow.” —Library Journal
“[A]n entertaining story that keeps readers guessing until the very twisted and eerie end.” —RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Carol J. Perry was born in Salem on Halloween Eve. She has written many young adult novels, in addition to the Witch City mystery series. She and her husband Dan live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with two cats and a black Lab.
Read an Excerpt
Murder Go Round
By Carol J. Perry
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Carol J. Perry
All rights reserved.
Late-August days in Salem, Massachusetts, can be quite lovely. Most of the visiting vacationers have left, so driving, parking, walking and shopping is a lot easier for those of us lucky enough to live here year-round. On just such a day, bright with sunshine and with the tiniest hint of fall in the air, my aunt Ibby and I made plans to spend some easy, leisurely, quality time together.
Of course things don't always go exactly as planned.
I'm Lee Barrett — maiden name, Maralee Kowolski — thirty-two, red-haired, Salem-born, orphaned early, married once and widowed young. My sixty-something ball-of-energy aunt, Isobel Russell, and I, along with our cat, O'Ryan, share the comfortable, old family home on Winter Street, where she'd raised me after my parents died.
I sat at Aunt Ibby's round oak kitchen table, enjoying my second cup of morning coffee, while O'Ryan, his big yellow-striped paws on the windowsill, watched a pair of orioles in the garden. My aunt studied the Salem News, looking for something "different and interesting" for us to do. "It has to be outdoors," she said. "Winter will be here soon enough."
"Sounds good to me. Anything special in mind?"
She tapped the open page of the newspaper with a neatly manicured fingertip. "Look at this, Maralee. I've always wanted to go to one of these."
I put my cup down and peered at the quarter-page advertisement.
Today Only! Public Auction of Unclaimed Storage Units. The Public Is Invited to Participate In a "Storage War Auction"! Each Unit Sells to the Highest Bidder.
"How does it work?" I asked.
"Well," she said, "if it works like the TV show, you can bid on a locker and you get everything in it if you make the highest bid."
I knew that Aunt Ibby was fond of watching a cable television program on the subject. She'd often told me about people who'd found amazing bargains by bidding on the contents of abandoned lockers.
"So it's just like a regular auction?"
"Not exactly. You get to peek in the door of the locker. You can't go inside, touch anything or open any boxes. Oh, and it's cash only."
"You pay cash and you don't know what you're buying?" I'd worked in the television industry, both in front of and behind the cameras, most of my adult life. I was currently working during the school year as an instructor of TV production at a local academy. Even so, I'd never watched that particular show and the pig-in-a-poke concept seemed strange to me.
She shrugged. "Sometimes you can see a lot of the stuff. It's not always in boxes. People come away with wonderful furniture all the time. Antiques. Vintage. Come with me. You'll love it."
She knew she'd hit on my weakness. Aunt Ibby had converted the third floor of the old house into an apartment for me, and I was slowly furnishing it — mostly with antiques and vintage things. "You know me too well," I said. "Where's the auction? What time?"
"It starts at ten," she said, "over near Gallows Hill. If we hurry, we can stop at the bank, get some cash and be there in time."
"Should we put a cap on how much we'll spend?"
"How about we limit ourselves to five hundred dollars?" she said. "Two-fifty apiece?"
My semiretired aunt is nicely set financially, thanks to a combination of old family money, New England frugality, sound investment advice and decades of work as head reference librarian in Salem's main library. A generous inheritance from my parents' estate and the insurance settlement from my race-car driver husband Johnny Barrett's death two years ago, along with my own earnings as an instructor at Salem's newest school, provide nicely for me. We can each afford to take an occasional fling, like the proposed foray into the world of storage wars.
A quick change of clothes — khaki cargo pants and Tampa Bay Lightning T-shirt for me, navy capris and a neat white shirt for my still-slim-and-fit aunt, and we headed for the garage behind the house. O'Ryan peeked from the window — maybe watching us, maybe focused on a lone blue jay. We never know what O'Ryan is thinking. He used to be the pet of a witch named Ariel Constellation. Some say he was her "familiar." In Salem, a witch's familiar is to be respected — and sometimes feared. Unfortunately, I was the one who'd discovered Ariel's drowned body floating in Salem Harbor. Happily for us, my aunt and I were given custody of the quite remarkable, large and beautiful yellow-striped cat.
We decided to drive Aunt Ibby's big, sturdy Buick to the sale, leaving my less practical, but definitely gorgeous, Laguna Blue Stingray Corvette convertible behind. That old Buick's wide backseat and roomy trunk could hold a lot of stuff.
"If we buy anything too huge," I said, "I'll call Pete. He's working nights this week, so I know he'll have time, and he can probably borrow his brother-in-law's truck." Police detective Pete Mondello had become the main man in my life. I knew he'd agree to help out even though he finds my admittedly eclectic taste in home furnishings a little odd.
The parking lot, next to the long, boxlike white building, was more than half filled when we arrived, and Aunt Ibby neatly maneuvered the car into a vacant space next to a chain-link fence. "Looks like the dealers are here," she said, pointing to a row of trucks and vans parked close to the building, a few of them marked with the names of local thrift and vintage stores. "Maybe five hundred dollars won't be enough."
"I think it will be plenty," I said, "and even if we don't buy a locker, it'll be an interesting way to spend a couple of hours."
"I guess you're right. Anyway, sometimes on the TV show somebody wins a really good locker for just a couple of hundred dollars." Her expression brightened. "Besides, I'm sure they have an ATM."
I laughed. "You're incorrigible!" We approached the main gate, joining about thirty people gathered there. Although during my growing-up years my aunt had regularly cautioned me about never speaking to strangers, she'd always avoided following that rule herself. This day was no exception.
"Excuse me," she said, addressing a man wearing a red T-shirt emblazoned with the word Lucky in big white letters. "Have you been to one of these sales before?"
"Sure thing," he said. "There's a sale somewhere just about every week. I get e-mails from the auctioneers or see ads in the paper."
"This is our first time," Aunt Ibby confided. "Are most of these folks what you might call 'regulars'?"
He glanced around. "I'd say about half and half. The people with secondhand stores show up all the time. Then there's the ones who come once in a while, just looking for big-screen TVs or old jukeboxes — specialty stuff. There's a few ... like her." He pointed to a heavy woman, with bright orange hair, wearing a shapeless multicolored dress and blowing a huge pink bubblegum bubble. "And him"— he indicated a youngish man, in black turtleneck jersey and black jeans, who stood apart from the rest of the group. I remembered seeing the woman around Salem before. That orange hair was hard to miss. Lucky dropped his voice. "They come to a lot of sales and never buy a damn thing. Just watch the rest of us. Kind of creeps me out."
A woman beside him volunteered, "Oh, Lucky, don't be silly. There's a lot of times you don't buy anything. Me too. Sometimes it's just a pile of junk, like, you know, old mattresses, bags of dirty clothes." She made a face. "But sometimes you can really score big-time, huh?"
"You bet. I do okay. Sell most of what I buy on eBay or Craigslist."
The woman wasn't through. "'Course there was that one guy who found a corpse in a barrel." The two laughed.
"Oh, good heavens!" My aunt pressed two fingers to her mouth.
"Is that true?" I asked. "Really?"
"Yep. Man killed his wife. Stuck her body in a barrel. Got away with it too, until his second wife stopped paying the locker rent."
Aunt Ibby interrupted the macabre reminiscence. "Look. There's the auctioneer." She pointed to a blond man wearing jeans and a plaid shirt. He raised his hand and the hum of conversation around us stilled.
"Is everybody ready?"
A chorus of "Yes" rang out.
"Okay then. Listen up. We have seven lockers today. Here's the rules. When we cut the lock, you get five minutes to look around. You can't go into the locker. You can't open any boxes. And whoever has the most money wins it. Let's get started!"
The gate swung open and the crowd pressed forward. My aunt somehow maneuvered us into the front row as a bolt cutter sliced through a padlock and the door rolled upward with a bang and a cloud of dust. It was one of the smaller lockers, just five-by-five, packed with a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture and boxes of varying sizes. Most of the boxes were sealed with tape and lettered on their sides with black marker: TOYS, GAMES, DRESSES. A long one, partially opened, with a discolored and bent aluminum handle sticking out from its side, said POTS & PANS. An oversized, dusty Mickey Mouse plush toy peeked from one side. A few of the larger cartons near the bottom of the pile bore words in a foreign language, with symbols among the letters.
Some of the boxes on that lower tier had popped open at the seams and appeared to contain kitchenware, mostly of the plastic variety. A man behind me stage-whispered, "Doesn't look like much. Dollar store stuff. Chinese. Beat-up crappy furniture. I'll pass on this one."
I heard a bid of ten dollars. A ripple of laughter. Twenty. Thirty. With plenty of jovial encouragement from the auctioneer, the bidding, mostly between the thrift store dealers, slowly went up to 230 dollars. My aunt had scooched down, looking closely at the bottom row. She stood and tugged at my elbow. The bid went to two-forty.
"We're bidding on this one," she said.
"Why? No one seems to think much of it."
"See that kind of tall, scraggly-looking brown box down there? The one with the little tear in its side?"
I peered at the tattered carton she'd described. "With the foreign words on it?"
"Uh-huh. We want it." She spoke so softly I could barely hear, glancing over her shoulder as though she was afraid that someone might be listening.
I laughed aloud. "Okay, but why all the mystery?"
"Shhh." She shushed me and whispered. "You don't understand how these things work. If you act like you see something good, they start running up the bid."
I whispered back. "You're acting exactly like you see something good. What is it?"
Ignoring me, she raised her hand. "Two hundred and fifty dollars."
"Aunt Ibby," I said, "this is the first locker of the day. The ad said there are seven. Maybe one of the others is better than this."
"Two-sixty," came a voice from behind us.
The auctioneer repeated the bids in that amazing, fast-talking, singsongy way they do. "Two-sixty, two-sixty, two-sixty. Do I hear two-seventy?"
"Two sixty-five," said my aunt, using her firm, head-librarian voice intended to discourage all further conversation.
It worked. There were no more bids. For just about half of our budget, we had a five-by-five room packed full of ... what?
The crowd moved on, some looking back at us with what might have been pitying glances reserved for newbies in the storage wars game. My smiling aunt stood, hands on her hips, surveying the open locker door. "Looks like it'll take us a while to unload all this. We'll start at the top and work our way down to the box I was bidding on."
"Don't you even want to see what's in the other six lockers?"
"Not now. I'm too excited about this one."
"Okay." I know better than to argue with her. Like me, she's a stubborn redhead.
A gray-haired man, pushing a very large four-wheeled dolly and carrying a small stepladder, approached from behind the building. "Looks like you girls might need a little help getting this stuff to your vehicle, eh?" He gave the locker's contents an appraising look. "She's packed pretty tight. I'm Jim. How's twenty bucks sound for moving it out?"
We agreed to the offer and Jim climbed onto his stepladder and began pulling items from the top and handing them down to me. My aunt knelt once more, peering into the torn carton. "Yes," she said, standing and brushing dust from her pants, "I'm absolutely sure now. I can hardly wait to get it home and polish it up."
"Stop teasing," I said. "What is it?"
She looked around, dropping her voice again, as our helper piled boxes onto the dolly, many of them unsealed, and most containing mismatched dishes, plastic-flower arrangements, dingy, wrinkled clothes and the like. Jim topped the load off with a bright green kitchen chair with broken rungs, a scarred maple coffee table and the forlorn Mickey Mouse. "I don't want to open it here," she whispered. "I'll show you later. Want to call Pete now? Looks like we'll be needing that truck. Can't possibly fit all this into the car."
"Couldn't we just take the things you want, and put all the other stuff into that Dumpster over there?" I pointed to a huge green bin. "Doesn't look as though most of this is worth anything."
That comment met with a horrified intake of breath from both my aunt and Jim. "We have to take it all. It's the rules," Aunt Ibby said.
"The rules!" echoed Jim. "And after it's all cleared out, you have to sweep the floor and take the sweepin's with you too. Them's the rules. And," he added, "you only got today to get it all done."
"And drive it all straight to the city dump," I muttered, shaking my head as I called Pete's private number on my cell. Jim balanced a musty-smelling burgundy velour ottoman and the box of pots and pans onto the dolly, thus exposing part of the bottom row. My aunt lifted the mysterious tall box, clutching it to her chest with both arms.
"Where's your curiosity, your sense of adventure, Maralee? Come on, Jim. Let's grab a couple of those little lamps and start loading the car. My niece will stay here and guard the rest."
The two headed for the Buick — Jim pulling the precariously balanced load with one hand and carrying a shadeless pink ceramic lamp with the other; my aunt walking alongside, one arm hugging her precious box, the other hand steadying the awkward heap.
Fine. Leave me here all alone, protecting a smelly pile of junk. Pacing back and forth in front of the damned locker like a Buckingham Palace guard, I waited for Pete to answer.
"Hi, Lee. What's up?" Just hearing his voice made my mood improve.
"I need to ask a favor, Pete," I began. "Do you think you can borrow Donnie's truck for a couple of hours?"
"I'm sure I can. Why? Have you finally decided to move in with me?" I could hear the smile in his voice.
"Not today," I said, knowing there was a smile in my voice too. "Aunt Ibby and I are at a storage locker auction and we need to transport some ..." I looked behind me at the open locker, searching for a word. "Some merchandise," I said.
"Okay. Where are you?"
"Thanks, Pete." I gave him the name of the place and he promised to be there with his brother-in-law's truck in twenty minutes.
We loaded the dolly once more, and Aunt Ibby pronounced the Buick filled to capacity. Jim had found an old corn broom among the leftover items, so I began the floor-sweeping process while Jim began piling the remaining artifacts outside the locker. My aunt went in search of plastic bags to hold the sweepings.
"Wonder what's in this one." I leaned the broom against a good-sized wooden crate propped against the rear wall of the nearly empty space. Some of the slats on the top and sides were broken and a few were missing altogether.
"Dunno," said Jim. "Want to give me a hand moving it outside?"
"Sure," I said, pushing the broom out of the way and moving to one end of the thing while Jim positioned himself at the other.
"Okay, miss," he said. "One-two-three, lift!"
The crate was more awkward than heavy, and as we moved together, crablike, toward the entrance, one of the broken slats was exactly at my eye level. As soon as we stepped out into the sunlight, I let go of my end with a muffled scream.
Looking straight at me from inside that crate was another eye.CHAPTER 2
Jim lowered his end of the crate to the ground — a lot more gently than I had. "What's wrong, miss?" There was real concern in his voice. "Are you okay?"
I couldn't answer right away. I was busy processing what I'd just seen. Or what I thought I'd just seen. That corpse-in-a-barrel story flashed through my brain.
"Jim," I said, surprised that my voice sounded so normal, "I'm fine, but do me a favor?"
"Sure, miss. Anything you say."
"Take a look into the crate, will you? Right there. Where there's a slat gone on the side."
Excerpted from Murder Go Round by Carol J. Perry. Copyright © 2017 Carol J. Perry. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A seer her aunt (who by the way were adopted by a witches familiar) embark on a mystery that contains the seer's cop boyfriend, Tarrot, a palm reader, Grand Duches Anastasia, hunting a Tzar's treasure, murders, and a storage auction are just part of the action. This is a great book series and you don't have to read them in order! I have read all four so far and can't wait for more. Try it you'll like it! (really ?)
Wonderful just had a great time reading it.
I like how fast paced with good humor they are
I enjoyed the story and the well developed characters. Even the town feels like a character. One of my favorite story lines involves animals so the mysterious cat brought an interesting extra element when coupled with paranormal "gifts". Can't wait to read more.
Good read. Twists & turns. A little romance & a touch of magic, mystery, murder, & old treasures.
Title: Murder Go Round - Witch City Mystery Book 4 Author: Carol J Perry Publisher: Kensington Books Published: 1-31-2017 Pages: 384 Genre: Mystery & Thriller Sub-Genre: Amateur Sleuths, Occult, Psychics, Romance, Supernatural, Cozy Mystery, Suspense ISBN: 9781496707154 ASIN: B01FBZXQ04 Reviewed For NetGalley and Kensington Books Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.5 Stars A killer takes a spin through Salem . . . Lee Barrett has agreed to attend a storage auction with Aunt Ibby—even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. Her skepticism vanishes once the two win a bid on an overlooked locker and uncover a trove of beautiful curiosities, including a stunning wooden carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint. But just before Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop, the sight of a silver samovar awakens her psychic abilities and conjures visions of murder. Lee prays the intrusive ESP episode was just a glimpse into the past—until her policeman boyfriend reports a dead man outside the repair shop. Apparently, the unknown victim had been hot on Lee’s trail since the auction. And with the horse found dismantled, it looks like he was up to no good. What’s the story behind the antique equine, and could a strange bubblegum-chewing woman with fiery hair have something to do with the crime? Guided by her gift and O’Ryan, her wise tabby cat, Lee’s set on catching the murderer . . . before she’s sent on the darkest ride of her life. A fun read for cozy lovers. Filled with characters that seem real and are interesting. With a touch of spiritual aspects and a touch of humor and romance makes Murder Goes Round a fast paced fun read. My rating of "Murder Go Round - Witch City Mystery Book 4" is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Well done. Good mystery,love the Russian element with the Czar & Anastasia . Keep the Witch City books coming!
I had not read any books from this author, but I do enjoy a good cozy mystery. This one had a lot in it that I enjoyed. Lee Barrett is a scryer, which means she sees visions in shiny objects, mirrors, silver, glass etc. She is also a 30 year old widow who lives with her nosy, retired librarian Aunt Ibby and dates a detective. She is a teacher but it is during a school holiday when this book takes place. On a whim, Lee Barrett and Aunt Ibby attend a storage locker auction. They bid and win a unit that Aunt Ibby saw something of value in. As they remove and separate the items they find several things they love such as a Russian Samovar, a wooden carousel horse, beautiful doll clothes and some carved wooden toys. Once they get the items home, Lee starts having visions of people on a ship as well as someone who is dead with blood dripping down their neck and a bear. She is not sure what they mean, but unbeknownst to her, she is setting a historical search in motion. Lee takes the wooden horse to a shop to be restored and that evening, the shop is broken into, the horse is taken apart and a man is found dead outside the doors. The dead man is the one in Lee's vision. That evening the police are called to the show. The horse had been dismantled and outside the shop is a dead man exactly as Lee saw it in the earlier vision. This was a fun Russian themed mystery, where some employees of the Czar were sent to America hiding treasure. With the help of Pete, her detective boyfriend, Aunt Ibby and her amazing research skills, O'Ryan a dead witch's familiar and some old friends, we take a fun and interesting journey through some history, some food and some criminal activity to solve the mystery not only of the murder, but of the missing treasure from the Romanov family. I am definitely going to have to check out the first three books in this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
This is the fourth book in this series and it hasn't hit a slump yet. Some series have a hard time continuing to produce a great read. Not this one. I have a fondness for mysteries involving the occult and cats. Add very likeable characters and the setting of Salem, MA - I was eager to start a new series. In this installment, Lee and her Aunt Ibby bid and win a storage locker. Lee is a scryer and is still learning what that can do to her life. (A whole lot) Of course trouble follows in the form of a murder. Her cat has an active role in each book, not just a pretty face. Overall, a very pleasant cozy mystery, a great way to escape for awhile. I'm looking forward to the next one. My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review this book in exchange for my honest review.
Love this series...mysteries with a twist...to keep you guessing and characters you feel our friends...Plus a charming cat with a supernatural flair...
Murder Go Round by Carol J. Perry is the fourth book in A Witch City Mystery series. It is late August in Salem, Massachusetts. Maralee “Lee” Barrett and her aunt, Ibby (Isobel Russell) are going to a storage locker auction. The first locker looks like it is full of junk, but Ibby notices the writing on one of the boxes. They bid and win. What looks like a space full of junk, turns out to be full of treasures. There is a beautiful hand-carved wood carousel horse wrapped in a crazy quilt, a gorgeous clock, Russian nesting dolls, and a gorgeous sterling silver samovar. But it seems that someone else wants their newly acquired gems. They sort through the many items and divide them into piles. One pile heads to the curb, one for the local charity shop, and the final (and much smaller) pile heads into the house. Pete Mondello, a police detective and Lee’s boyfriend, helps Lee take the carousel horse to Paul Carbone be refinished. That night Lee receives a call from Pete that Paul’s shop has been broken into. Someone took apart her carousel horse and the police found a man deceased outside Paul’s shop. It is soon obvious that the culprit is not finished. The next morning, they discover that the trash from the storage locker has disappeared from the curb during the night (trash men are not that efficient). The items at the thrift shop are also gone. What could they be looking for? Lee uses her special ability (she can see visions in reflective surfaces) along with clues from her equally unique cat, O’Ryan to help Pete solve the case. Murder Go Round is easy to read, and I like the setting of Salem, Massachusetts. While Murder Go Round is the fourth book in A Witch City Mystery series, it can easily be read alone. The author updates the reader on what has occurred in the previous novels. The mystery is intriguing. I like how it takes us back to Czar Nicholas II (the last Czar of Russia before the revolution). I give Murder Go Round 3 out of 5 stars. I did not enjoy Murder Go Round as much as I did the previous books in the series. I found information to be repeated (especially about the case) and the mystery was not difficult to solve. I was able to ferret out the culprit early in the book. I wish there had been less time spent on Raven and her tarot card reading. I did not feel it enhanced the story (it was distracting and the cards are confusing). I wish that Lee would embrace her abilities. I am tired of her complaining about her unique gift. Lee mentions more than once that she associates her gift (visions) with death and dying (what does she expect when she solves mysteries and helps her detective boyfriend). I believe the author needs move Lee forward. We need to see her character grow, develop and embrace her gift. I will read the next book in A Witch City Mystery series. I will give it another shot to see if there is improvement.
Is it really possible that Maralee (Lee) and Aunt Ibby could get into so much trouble, just by attending a storage locker auction? After bidding and winning the contents they began to question what they had done. Carol Perry has written an enjoyable series, A witch City mystery series, she has just released her 4th book and the 5th will soon follow. FTC Full Disclosure - A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
I loved this book! In it, Lee, along with her Aunt Ibby, decide to go to a storage locker auction on a lark. They end up winning a locker, and, along with it, a deadly mystery with them at the heart of it. Pete, Lee's detective boyfriend, keeps warning her to stay out of police business, but that's easier said than done. This novel has a bit of everything in it, Russian history, baking tidbits, and Salem folklore. Fans of the genre will love this book. I gave it four stars instead of five because so parts of the novel moved a bit slow for me. However, having said that, I think that those parts were necessary to the author's crafting a delightful mystery. While this is book four in the series, it is a stand alone novel. However, you will enjoy it so much more if you've read the prior books in the series. The author is on my must read authors' list.