Sunday, October 03, 2010

On the Library Table: The Divine Circle of Ladies Tipping the Scales

The Divine Circle of Ladies Tipping the Scales
Dolores Stewart Riccio

This is the seventh adventure in Dolores Stewart Riccio's "Divine Circle of Ladies" Wiccan mystery series, and it is a delight.

The Circle are safe and sound on dry land after the ocean adventures of volume six (The Divine Circle of Ladies Rocking the Boat). They are longing simply for a little peace and quiet when they suddenly find themselves involved in murder, mystery and mayhem right in their own town.

There is usually a goddess in the equation, and this time around it seems to be Themis (or Justitia), She who is "of good counsel". A Titan and one of the Oracles of Delphi, Themis embodies divine order, law and custom. She is the bringer of justice and sacred overseer of all things legal, and her ability to see into the future makes her a perfect fit with our dauntless sleuths. With Lady Justice on the scene and the five fabulous members of the circle at work, Justice will indeed roll down like the waters and righteousness like an everlasting stream.

Herbalist Cass Shipton is happily nested with her Greenpeace marine engineer husband Joe Ulysses and her two canines when she is summoned to jury duty. A local mother and daughter have been killed in what appears to be a house burglary which went horribly wrong, and the two burglars are on trial for murder. A true Libra, Cass takes her legal responsibilities seriously, and she resolves to examine all the evidence closely, weighing everything on her personal scales of truth and fairness. It is not long until her powers as a clairvoyant manifest themselves, and she realizes that not all in the courtroom is as it seems.

While Cass is attending the trial, her friends and coven mates are knee deep in their own judicial pursuits. Heiress and animal lover Heather Devlin resorts to illegal tactics and covert operations in her passionate efforts to bring down a local dog fighting ring, rescuing three fugitive (and abused) Staffordshire terriers in the process. Librarian Fiona must assist a young woman named Ashling Holmes in laying to rest the angry ghost of her husband, an alcoholic poet who is haunting her days and making her life a misery. Chef Phillipa pursues her own investigation into the dastardly doings in a local restaurant which is linked to the murder trial Cass is attending as a juror. Deidre, recently widowed, meets an old boyfriend and finds herself enchanted all over again. Meandering merrily through the novel is Cass Shipton's Goth loving and psychokinetic daughter-in-law, Freddie.

When a new "Divine Circle " novel is published, I always find myself exclaiming that it is the best one yet, and this seventh volume is no exception - it is a treasure and I absolutely loved reading it. It really IS the best one yet.

Dolores Stewart Riccio is a superb writer, and she moves from strength to strength (and magic to magic) in writing this delightfully fey series. Her settings are wonderfully drawn; the characters are eccentric, forthright and possessed of immense humor and charm - then there is the matter of their spiritual path and their unusual abilities, all put to good crime solving use.

The five ladies of the divine circle are women I have come to treasure, and I almost expect them to turn up in my living room when I am reading one of the novels. How I wish they would, and I am already looking forward to volume eight. Bravo! Kudos to the author, and many "thank you's" too.


Anonymous said...

I just finished reading it, too. Ditto everything you said. I discovered Dolores through your blog, so thank you, thank you, thank you for introducing me to a wonderful writer!

Rain Trueax said...

I had never heard of this author and this series but you can bet I will be looking for it the next time I get to a bookstore.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a must read I can see....for my Winter bedside table.