Book Review: Witch Window
Reviewed by Lindsay Crandall
A gripping mystery set in a stunning Vermont landscape
Witch Window starts in the summer heat with the discovery of a body. A body that just so happens to be dressed for skiing. But the body is set aside his as another story unravels.
Josh Church, an author living in Vermont with his wife, has recently passed away. Some of his assets were donated to an environmental group, which is where the main story of Witch Window begins.
A news team from Colorado, where Church was from, travels to Vermont to investigate suspected foul play on the part of the environmental group. Jean-Claude, or JC, an adventurous investigative reporter, is accompanied by Robin, an up and coming field producer, and Bip, a photographer.
The plot builds around the fictional town of Stonestead, Vermont and the Mont Vert Ski Resort. As the news team begins to familiarize themselves with the town and the environmental group— Vermont Stands for the Birds and Bees (VSBB)—their suspicions begin to grow.
For every question they find an answer to, three more tend to pop up in its place. As the story continues to unfold, it becomes apparent that, although motives have yet to be uncovered, foul play has occurred.
Author Phil Bayly decorates this engrossing tale with rich descriptions of Vermont’s landscape and local flora—vivid enough that I started researching real estate prices in New England. Bayly introduces a variety of characters, including the Colorado-based news team, members of VSBB, Church’s widow, and some quirky locals, and they all play interesting roles in the grand scheme of this layered story.
As soon as I thought I had part of the mystery solved, Bayly slyly shifts focus to revisit a previously mentioned character or locale. He is clearly comfortable turning his mysteries around on their heads and enjoys leaving readers guessing to the final pages, to see how all of the dots of the story connect. There is an excellent flow to this novel, even throughout all of the twists, and it makes it an easy and enjoyable read.
JC is a well-developed and well-traveled protagonist. The prior novels in the series also have him traipsing the country, seeking adventure or investigating mysteries. Character development is where Bayly excels most—his characters always written with purpose, crafted so candidly that readers feel as if they too could travel to the little town in Vermont and have a pint at MacLaomainn’s with any one of them. I highly recommend Witch Window to any nature-loving mystery enthusiast, and I look forward to seeing where Bayly takes JC and company next.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / Murder Mystery
Print Length: 336 pages
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