Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley (Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries #4) by Holly Bell
Read: 6th – 10th October 2019
Publication Date: 29th September 2019
Quote from Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley
“Well … what I [Amanda] need is a reason to visit Irma Uberhausfest. And soon.”
Fortunately, thanks to stilettos, a spanner and a piano, one was in the making.
Plot: 5/5 – Flow: 5/5 – Character Development: 5/5 – World Building: 5/5
Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley is a cozy mystery novel (approximately 335 pages) within the paranormal genre. It is the fourth book written by Holly Bell, in her Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries series and is set in the fictional English village of Sunken Madley.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I write about how the story was told rather than the plot itself, which means that my reviews don’t contain spoilers of any kind or reveal any plot twists, so here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story:
Amanda finds a body at The Grange. Accident or murder? It matters; she has no alibi.
But a far more serious problem is afoot. Amanda has cast one spell too many against a human. Now there is no stopping the attack of the Flamgoynes on Sunken Madley. When they will strike, who will come to her aid, how she will defend the village, she knows not. The key to her promised Home Guard is the mysterious Viola, whose identity is a secret.
They are coming. Can she buy the intrepid Inspector Trelawney the hour he needs to complete his own dangerous mission? Was it the Flamgoyes who sent her unpleasant family over the Cornish cliff all of those years ago? Can Amanda find Viola in time? In the moment of truth, will she stand alone as her recurring dream shows her? Or will she see The Rise of Sunken Madley?
Action, adventure, humour, spies, ghosts, murder and revelations abound in this climactic tale.
I really love Holly Bell’s writing style; it’s easy to read with intelligent prose and engaging plot-lines that are sprinkled with gentle humour. Her series is based around the purely fictional English village of Sunken Madley – which Ms Bell has populated with a host of captivating characters that you’d see in any village across the country. The writing style, setting and characters all feel quintessentially English.
I’ve been in love with our main protagonists, Amanda and Thomas, since book 1 – The Hidey-Hole Truth – and have enjoyed watching their characters grow and develop. Our resilient heroine Amanda Cadabra has got all the qualities that I look for in a female lead and Detective Thomas Trelawney is intelligent, resourceful and a worthy hero. The challenges that Amanda and Thomas faced in this book were climactic and I enjoyed watching how they tacked each problem – they’ve both got gumption. I can’t talk about our main characters without mentioning my favourite feline, Tempest. He’s Amanda’s familiar and I love how he steals the limelight in every scene he’s in with a very dry wit.
In fact, I like that Ms Bell has obviously taken such care over writing all of the villagers that inhabit Sunken Madley; I love the attention to detail. I see so many of the personalities and foibles on the page that I see in the people around me; it makes her characters more believable for me, they feel real; it’s easy to get caught up in the adventure.
I love how, with each book to date, we have learned more about Sunken Madley and the main villagers who live there and although there is still more to learn, The Rise of Sunken Madley does answer many of our questions.
I loved that the tension in this quintessentially English cozy paranormal mystery franchise stepped up a notch with this book and that the story kept me guessing. There are a few mysteries for our heroine, Amanda, to solve within these pages, but fear not dear reader, no frustrating cliffhangers here (Woohoo!) and there are enough twists and turns during this tale to satisfy any Miss Marple wannabe. 😉
I loved the fact that Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley had me holding my breath on the edge of my seat, feeling all warm and mushy, wracking my brain trying to work out the puzzles, reaching for the tissues to dry my tears as well as smiling and chuckling out loud. In short, it had me gripped and I couldn’t stop reading.
There wasn’t anything about this story that niggled or didn’t work for me, hence my top marks.
I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I don’t think that this book can be read as a standalone novel. Our emotional connection to the main characters and the supporting cast has been built and grown over the previous books. Much of the character development and world building relating to those inhabitants deemed Village, Sunken Madley itself – including the its amazing history and somewhat mystical properties – and Amanda’s standing in the village community has already been covered during the previous adventures too.
Also, this is the fourth book in a series and although many questions and the imminent threats have been dealt with within these pages, there are still questions left unanswered and a potential threat from the Flamgoyne family. In my opinion, this is a good thing as it leaves enough of a hook – without the need for any nasty life-or-death cliffhangers – to make you keen to stay with the series and pester Ms Bell about when book five will be available. 😉
I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. It’s got everything that I look for in a great story; some intelligent mysteries to get the little grey cells whirling, various scenes that get the adrenaline pumping, and enough tension to make you hold your breath plus some well written humour (there’s even a sprinkling of a budding romance between our two protagonists).
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys ‘cozy mysteries’ within the paranormal genre; I don’t think there’s any content within these pages that could offend anyone. I’m looking forward to finding out what adventures Amanda gets caught up in next.
So, has my review of AMANDA CADABRA AND THE RISE OF SUNKEN MADLEY (AMANDA CADABRA COZY PARANORMAL MYSTERIES #4) encouraged you to find out more? I really hope so. If I have, just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself or to find out more about the author.
(I am part of Amazon , The Book Depository, Foyles Book Shop and Waterstones affiliate programmes, which means when you use those links to buy a copy of this book, I will get a (very) small % from the sale.)
Holly devoured all of the Agatha Christie books long before she knew that Miss Marple was the godmother of the Cosy Mystery. Her devotion to JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings meant that her first literary creation in this area would have to be a cosy paranormal.
Having derived immense delight from the adventure of writing Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth, there was no turning back. Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets quickly followed the first book’s success and book 3, Amanda Cadabra and The Flawless Plan was released in 2019 to the pleasure of fans. The fourth book Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley is the latest addition to the Amanda Cadabra series and further books are in the pipeline.
Her favourite feline is a black cat called Bobby. He is black. Purely coincidental.
Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to read my review. I hope that I have persuaded you to add this fabulous book to your ever growing TBR piles. 😉