Wandmaker, Amethyst, is certain that her lot in life is to make wands for her fellow witches. Until a Detective shows up at her shop asking for help only she can give.
One taste of an investigation, and Amethyst is thrown into the world of mystery and crime. Can she use her skills to catch the killer before they strike again?
Wands and Witnesses is an urban fantasy murder mystery including Hexes and Vexes & Witches and Stitches.
Laura Greenwood and Arizona Tape have a very creative vision in their books. I love the lively dialog and the creative magic. I think you will too. – Leah R Cutter
"In this book, they investigate and solve the murder while enjoying each other's company. The world they've built is fun, The mystery and the characters are engaging. It's quirky, it's funny, it's sweet, it's interesting. There were a few interesting small characters I think have room to grow and well get to know them and they'll add a richness to future books in the series. I really like it. I wish there were more books like this."– Amazon Reviewer
"Amethyst is a quirky gal, loads of fun, and looking for an adventure. Ambrose is the serious, no non-sense detective from the local magical PD. Together they do a good job finding the clues and getting to the bottom of a murder, in a bit of a round about way."– Amazon Reviewer
"The banter and sass between Amy and Ambrose is hilarious and works to make them a team. Her familiar talks at inconvenient times, but is cute. Loved the unique characters and the storyline."– Amazon Reviewer
"I loved Amethyst. She was so quirky and a quick wit and a determination to help in the investigation of a murder much to the consternation of Ambrose who is the perfect foil to Amethyst. Where she is quirky and irreverent he is straight laced and completely serious. But as they work together she brings him out of his shell and he tames her wildness, even if only on a miniscule level. They actually make the perfect pairing to investigate this crime. Her out the box thinking and his commitment to procedure actually make for a crack crime-fighting team."– Amazon Reviewer
Every witch knows that the first day of autumn is supposed to be a day of peace, yet there's a large man with a ratty moustache screaming at me only five minutes after opening my shop. Ah, retail. The joy and bane of my existence. With customers like him, mostly bane.
"I want to exchange this wand!" the man shouts, his lip and moustache quivering in anger. He waves one of my finest wands so vigorously, I'm afraid he might conjure a small rhino. Or maybe a set of glass ducks with only one eye each. Magic does funny things when the wielder is acting strange.
Not that I know from experience, or anything like that. I'm as normal as they come. Ask anyone, so long as they're mute.
"Oi! Are you listening to me?" Ratty man snarls, his hand coiled so tightly around the wand, I'm impressed it hasn't snapped.
I should record him and use it to advertise the strength of my wands. Then again, an angry customer may not be the best form of advertising. Even if he has no real reason to act like this.
I take a breath to calm myself and dig deep for my best customer service voice. "Due to the personal nature of wands, I can't allow an exchange. We discussed this upon purchase and you can see it here on your receipt. I'm sorry."
"Nonsense! My son barely used it." He slams the wand down on my counter, rattling the copious jars with gems and crystals I have on display. "Just give me my money back, witch."
"Sir, there's no need to raise your voice." Am I supposed to be scared of him? I don't think he understands how bad working in retail is. He and his quivering moustache are far from the scariest things I've seen in this shop.
"Just gave me my money back!" Little bubbles of foam fill the corners of his mouth and he starts to turn an alarming shade of red.
Worrisome. For him. And me. I don't want a dead body in my shop, I hear they make quite a mess.
I blink slowly. "As you can see on your receipt, there are no refunds after fourteen days."
He slams his fist down on the counter, spittle flying into my face. "Rubbish! I want to speak to the manager!"
Slowly, I wipe my cheeks and try to maintain a calm voice. "Sir, I'm the owner of Amethyst's Wand Shop." Why does no one ever assume I am? Okay, part-owner. But Grammie doesn't work out front any more. With customers like these, I don't blame her. I should have grandkids so I can pass along the torch some day but that means having kids and ehh…
"Aha! So you admit you're responsible for these terrible wands then?"
"These wands are excellent." Despite my best efforts, agitation fills me. It's not every day I'm accused of making a bad wand, let alone being threatened and intimidated in my own shop.
While I sympathise with his cause and wish the wand suited his son better, I remember recommending he brought his kid in before purchasing an item from my collection. It's always better that way and leads to less incompatible matches. If he'd listened to me, we wouldn't be here. Alas, it happens more often than I want to admit. Perhaps I should start thinking about implementing a rule about it. But there's no point. No one is going to pay attention to it anyway, and I'll risk losing business to one of the other wandmakers in town. Or worse, they'll turn to one of the mass manufacturers who pump out identical wands with no personality.
I repress a shudder. Wandmaking is an art, it shouldn't be something done in a factory.
The man's moustache dances on his lip, drawing my attention back to him.
"Listen to me, give me my money back or I'll report you to the CWC," he threatens.
The Centre of Wand Control? How dare he. Not that they worry me too much. I've taken them on once before, I don't think the CWC will want me back on their premises again if they can help it. Especially after I proved sea glass is a stable amplifier in wands, even if they thought it wasn't.
Out of patience, I grab a couple of bills from the register and slap them on the counter. "Fine. Here's your refund. Now, leave the wand and get the hell out of my shop." I glare at him, completely done with his idiocy.
My sudden outburst startles the man.
"W-What?" He doesn't seem so confident now.
"That's what you wanted, right?" I grab the broom from the corner and sweep the ground under his feet. Most people assume witches use these things for flying, but I find them to be excellent for cleaning and chasing rude customers out of my shop. "Out! Out!"
"Jeez, what's wrong with you, lady?" The man hurries to the exit, his hand clenched tightly around the money.
"Haven't you heard?" I call after him, startling some innocent passersby. "I'm crazy!"
With that sorted, I throw the glass door shut behind him and flick the OPEN sign to CLOSED. I could've used my wand for that but this is so much more cathartic. Doing things without magic always makes me appreciate a good spell more.
That's enough peopling for today, especially if they are going to ruin my favourite day of the year. I knew I shouldn't have opened the store today. Instead, I should've gone for a walk in the park, admire the first orange leaves, and drink hot tea while making Grammie's famous pumpkin soup.
Actually, what am I thinking? I can still do that. There's plenty of time to rescue this disaster of a day.
"I'll be upstairs, Herbert," I say, patting the stone cat as I pass the till on my way to the back of the store. "Behave, all right?"
The cat doesn't react, but that doesn't mean he doesn't understand. He gives me his usual look, his grey eyes motionless but wise.
I snap my fingers. "You're right, I did forget to lock the door. What did I do with my keys?"
Before I can shut the shop, the little bell above the door tingles, and a well-dressed man strides towards me. A gust of wind sends his scent towards me and I frown. I know that vibe. What's a mage doing in my wand shop? They can't use wands. Or at the very least, they don't like to. Their magic is different from ours. I'm sure I'd know the differences better if I'd paid more attention while I was at the academy.
"I'm closed," I say, gesturing to the sign on the door. "Closed," I repeat, even though I'm sure he's heard me.
"Oh really?" The mage runs a hand through his dark unruly hair, shrugging. "Didn't see the sign."
"I, but… Fine… What can I help you with?" I ask, stepping aside so he can venture further into the shop. I've already had one rude customer, what's one more?
"Are you Amethyst from the Gemstone Coven?" he asks gruffly. Not a dislikable voice, but not the best one either. It strikes me as the kind of voice that grows on you.
"Yes. But you know that already," I point out. He just walked into my wand shop, and I'm the only person here.
"Great. Good morning, Amethyst. I'm—"
"I prefer Amy."
"Very well. Amy. I'm Detective Ambrose, Paranormal Police Department."
I raise an eyebrow. The PPD? What do they want this time? Unenchanted by his presence, I cross my arms. "So?"
"I need your help."
"Finding a wand?" I quip.
Annoyance flits through his eyes and he clicks his jaw.
Ah. No sense of humour. It's a shame, but he's probably not felt the need to develop one with the way he looks. Attractive people can be like that sometimes.
After a second or two, he composes himself. "I find my staff is far more effective."
"Depends on how you use it." I let a wry smile spread over my lips but cover most of my amusement.
He doesn't respond. A mage who doesn't appreciate comments about his staff. I guess I could make another remark with the intention to keep going until I get a rise out of him.
I snort at my own joke.
It's probably better to get to the point. He seems like the kind of man who is all business and no pleasure. In the bad way.
"What can I do for you, Detective?" I ask, recalling my customer service voice. It should work on officers of the law as well as on annoyingly entitled customers.
"I said. I need your help." His matter-of-fact tone is already starting to grate on me.
I sigh dramatically. "Just saying you need my help isn't going to get the clean, concise kind of answer you're looking for. Why don't we start with a subject? I'll guess, you can tell me if I'm right."
Huh, the books are right, that sound is kind of sexy on a man. It's a shame he's so uptight.
"I could guess it's about the whereabouts of my sister, but Topaz lives to her own rules, I haven't seen her in months," I muse, tapping a pen against my chin. "Now wandcraft, that'd be my real area of expertise." I wave around the shop as if to prove my point.
He doesn't have to know that wandmaking is actually my second choice of career.
"So… Detective Ambrose from the Paranormal Police Department. What could a mage like you possibly want from a wandmaker like me?" I ask.
"Help with a case."
Now that's music to my ears. "What case?"
"It's classified. I can't tell you until you agree to consult." He doesn't do much to hide his frustration.
The same annoyance bubbles up in me. "Riiiight… So you want my help, but you can't tell me what it is until I agree to help you."
He nods. "Correct. I'll need you to sign a non-disclosure agreement before I can tell you more."
"Of course… Only the PPD has such stupid rules." Well, and the Centre for Wand Control, they're just as bad. "And to think I applied to join you lot. Luckily, I'm over that."
Detective Ambrose looks surprised. "Really? You wanted to join the PPD?"
"Yes, but I got rejected. Bullet dodged, if you ask me." Despite my words, bitterness wells up within me. The rejection still stings.
"So you don't want to help?"
I drum my hands on the counter. "Woah, woah, I didn't say that. Let me think a moment."
Despite my old grievances with the Paranormal Police Department, I'm tempted to help out. It sounds exciting. Consulting with the police, maybe catching murders and thieves, a whole new adventure away from sculpting wands for snooty customers.
I turn to the cat, seeking his opinion. "What do you think, Herb?"
"Are you... talking to a statue?" Detective Ambrose asks, sounding bemused.
"Herbert helps me think."
"It's a stone cat…" he says slowly.
"Wow, that's rude of you." I cup Herbert's ears. "Don't listen to the mean man."
"You're crazy." Ambrose frowns. "Are you serious?"
"I wasn't talking to you," I deflect, turning my back to him so I can consult with Herbert in peace. "What do you think? Should I do this?"
The stone cat shoots me a disapproving look, but then again, what does he know? He's never even left the shop. Besides, this consulting thing sounds fun and with the season change, there's always room for new and exciting adventures.
I ignore the cat's advice and turn back to face the detective. "I'll do it, but on one condition."
"You'll find you're in no position to make conditions, Miss Amethyst."
"Tut." I hold up a finger to silence him. "It has just become two conditions. One, you stop calling me Amethyst. And two, I'll help, after you apologise to Herbert."
Detective Ambrose's face falls. "You… You want me to apologise to your statue?"