Published by Tom Doherty Associates 1996. $20.95 Hardback
Now available in paperback, not sure of the price.

At last, a series of mysteries set in the Pagan Community and featuring a real Witch as a crime-solver! This is Rosemary Edgill’s third book featuring Bast (AKA Karen Hightower) A Gardnerian Priestess who works for a publisher by day and solves mysteries in her free time. This installation, concerning a murder at a Pagan Festival, I found especially entertaining and fun.

We are treated to a castful of characters that those of us who frequent such circles will probably recognize - the teenage wannabe Witch, the sympathetic and curious law-enforcement officer, a tag-along survivalist, the inevitable fundamentalist protesters, a finally the enigmatic Ceremonial Magician who doesn’t quite fit in.There are lots of realistic social dynamics and authentic Pagan details in the novel, including a discussion of Wiccan ethics, a brief overview on the Wheel of The Year and Wiccan history, and observations on how others perceive us.

The characters deal with real Pagan problems, such as how to handle underage seekers and how to get a Pagan festival to run smoothly. ( I laughed out loud when I read a discussion on the futility of scheduling early morning events at the festival, because no one will be awake yet! Sound familiar?) Add to this an assortment of new Wiccan traditions who just want to be accepted by the somewhat snobby Old-School Witches ( Niceness Wicca, Kingon Wicca and a new S@M Tradition make their debut at the Festival) and you have an already volatile situation. When “Hellfire” Harm, a fire-and-brimstone preacher protesting the festival shows up dead on festival grounds, things get really weird. I won’t give the ending away, but no, it wasn’t the Witches who did him in.

I think Rosemary Edgill’s Bast novels would be an entertaining and realistic way to introduce Pagan and Wiccan beliefs to outsiders who normally would not read “Occult Books”. After all, it’s a MYSTERY NOVEL, isn’t it?

Published in Australia  1984 - 1990 - In Seattle & Sydney 1990-1994
Sydney/Seattle Webzine 1999
Copyright Shadowplay 1999. All rights reserved.
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Copyright Shadowplay 2000