Carly Bell Hartwell lives in Hitching Post, Alabama, a town with the unique reputation of being the number one place couples go to get married. Her mama runs a local wedding chapel, and there is a lot of activity in town as a wealthy senator is in town for his son's upcoming wedding, due to take place at her mama's chapel. However, there is also plenty of activity at her own potions shop, when a old friend stops by. Carly hasn't seen Katie Sue (now Katherine) since she left town many years ago. However it seems that Katie Sue is back to cause trouble for the wealthy Calhoun's. When Katie Sue turns up dead Carly is determined to find a killer and let her friend rest in peace.
I've been a fan of Heather's writing since my days of reading the Lucy Valentine books. It's been a joy to watch her develop her writing range, and move onto the magical mysteries, by the way of the Magic Potion Mysteries and the Wishcraft Mysteries. Up until now, I've favored the Wishcraft Mysteries slightly more. With already four mysteries in the Wishcraft Mysteries (and a new release coming in May), I've been reading that series longer. However, after finishing One Potion in the Grave, I don't think I could pick a favorite between the two series anymore.
While I certainly enjoyed A Potion to Die For, One Potion in the Grave made me really love this series. Narrated by Carly Sue, we hear a story of a woman with a troubled past, that certainly didn't deserve to die before her time. Carly Sue is determined to find the killer, at all costs. For me, Carly is so real. She has a on-and-off again relationship with police officer, Dylan. Not all love is black and white, and Carly and Dylan certainly have a colorful history, including a burning chapel! She's passionate about her friends and family and confused about her relationship with Dylan, and one of the most delightful amateur sleuths I've read.
I loved the mystery in this story. While I did guess several aspects of the mystery, I was surprised by the final denouement. Heather Blake writes human nature and emotions and in this story she really taps into the dysfunctional family very well.
One side story line that I loved was Carly's relationship with her cousin, Delia, who is the black to Carly's white, and they are a odd couple, but it is a joy watching them get closer. More than this, I loved Carly's relationship with her Aunt Margie. Margie is a riot. She shoots people for trespassing and uses a pitchfork to ward off unwanted guests. After an injury she ends up staying with Carly and it was fun watching them interact and their relationship grow stronger and closer.
With such an eclectic range of characters, readers will adore this series. It is full of characters that you will remember long after you've turned the last page, and fondly be looking forward to another visit to Hitching Post.
I listened to One Potion in the Grave on audio and I loved Carla Mercer-Meyer's narration. While I don't live in the south, her southern accent sounded authentic and she brought all the necessary emotion required to Carly, as she hunts down a killer, while mourning the loss of her friend. I hope she continues to narrate this series as I'm really enjoying the extra enjoyment she brings for me to this series.