The Witch On Main Street by Jo Hamilton (The Wickeden Inquisitor Mysteries Book 1)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.7 MB
The signs were there.
She read them in the rosehips in the bottom of a teacup, and in the steam rising from a nettle infusion. Edie Pepperidge knew the day would come when Mr. Newcombe strolled into her herbal dispensary on Main Street, carrying a large silver envelope. She knew that once she opened this envelope her life would never be the same again.
Three Found Hanging!
was the headline in the Wickeden Gazette and the first assignment for newly enlisted Inquisitor, Edie Pepperidge. But who is capable of killing witches and warlocks without fire, by turning their blood into tar?
reat Aunt Ophelia was in the drawing room, sitting in her favourite armchair and smoking on her pipe when Edie arrived. ‘How did you get here?’ Ophelia barked when Edie bent down to kiss her great aunt on her leathery cheek.
‘I brought my car,’ Edie said, knowing what was coming next.
‘Like a commoner!’ Ophelia bit. It took approximately ten minutes to drive from Main Street in Briston into Wickeden. She had to drive two blocks over into Broadway Avenue, down the alleyway that runs next to an abandoned theatre called The Regent, then through the backstage entrance which was the portal into Wickeden central. The entrance on the other side was in between Isla’s Blacksmith and Shamrock’s Cart Repair, an alleyway nicknamed Blacksham. Then she had to drive out of the inner cities into the country where the prestigious houses from old witch money were, including Thornapple House.
‘One must keep up appearances, Great Aunt.’ Edith cocked her head at the old woman. ‘You don’t look ill to me.’
‘Well I am.’ She gestured to her great niece to take the armchair opposite, by the fireplace. ‘Looks can be deceiving, my dear.’ She looked Edie sharply up and down. ‘It is time for me to step down and fresh, enthusiastic blood to step up.’
‘Forcibly,’ Edie added.
‘Quite,’ Ophelia agreed, not bothered by her protest.
‘How old are you now, Great Aunt?’ Edie asked.
Ophelia gazed up to the ceiling trying to recollect her thoughts. ‘I was born during the Massacre of Jessamine, so how old does that make me?’
‘Several hundred years old I’d expect,’ Edie said. She hugged herself as a cold prickly feeling snaked down her spine.
Ophelia pointed to the small silver trinket box sitting on the side table. ‘Just a pinch to start, dear,’ she said, then reached for the large brown envelope on the ottoman next to her and placed it on the crocheted blanket on her knee.
Edie knew that what was contained in that large brown envelope indicated the end of her life as she knew it, and the beginning of dark and terrible things. She did as her great aunt asked, and threw a pinch of ignis powder into the empty fireplace. Immediately a blast of orange flames appeared. Quickly, dirty smoke began to fill the room, making both Edie and Ophelia cough.
‘When was the last time you had that chimney cleaned?’ Edie asked.
Ophelia raised her eyebrows. ‘I’m not really sure.’ She got up from her chair, and began shuffling through a pile of old newspapers, as the smoke continued to permeate the room. ‘Found it!’ she finally announced, finding her wand made of white oak sitting between pages 29 and 30 in the Wickeden Gazette, a newspaper for those of the ‘uncommon’ variety. She swirled her wand about the room muttering a few words, and instantly the smoke was sucked back up the chimney flue.