Maddy is busy preparing for her grand opening of her bed and breakfast. She has a lot to do - and she does not need the spiteful machinations of Ralph Greyhoof - a local satyr and fellow hotelier - who is looking to sabotage the competition.
But no-one expected the rivalry to turn to actual murder - when a witch body turns up in Maddy’s back garden. Maddy doesn’t buy it, there is far more going on here than a business rivalry - and hotel guests are not worth killing over
This book is a lot of fun - the characters are fun, the world is fun, the story is fun. But it’s not just fun, it has a lot of decent depth to it, especially in the characterisation and it all has a lot of substance to it which makes it fun, but definitely not fluff
Most of the other characters are excellent - Maddy’s history, her past relationships, her moments of running wild, her charging around as a vampire hunter - all of that is very present with Maddy and with Sandy who both shared this history. Franny, the frustrated ghost who cannot interact with the world but oh so badly wants to. Having someone who genuinely dislikes Maddy and is definitely a rival but having the characters recognise that just being an enemy doesn’t make them completely evil. I like the levels there, the fact we don’t have enemy=completely irredeemably evil or that anyone who opposes the protagonist must be completely without any positive qualities. I like that
This applies to a fair amount of the plot - I like the whole complexity around the vampires, I like that the most obvious target gets questioned repeatedly. I like that we also have Linda, the head of their coven and mayor of the town who has also a lot of levels in her involvement of the plot which is hard to simply say good or bad. It’s not that everything is complex or elaborate - it isn’t convoluted at all. It’s not hard to follow, or difficult or following unnecessary twists for the sake of it. But more the characters simply are not simplistic, even enemies are multi-dimensional and as such so is the plot line, discerning actual motives and the investigation around that.
If I wanted more from the plot, it would be more of Maddy showing her Mad Maudlin days and not being a little damsel-ish around the edges. But at the same time I appreciate Maddy’s own history and her equal conflicted feelings about that.
I also feel that with all the wonderful nuance we see in the characters and plot, there are some elements of the politics of the world building that feel simplistic - like how easily Maddy and Sandy can set the agenda and successors for the Council and their coven.