REVIEW of The Case of the Spotted Tailor (A Cunning Woman Mystery #1) by Anna Castle



Publication Date: September 22, 2020

About the Author: Anna Castle is serious about series. She writes the Francis Bacon mystery series and also the Lost Hat, Texas mystery series. She has earned a series of degrees — BA in the Classics, MS in Computer Science, and a PhD in Linguistics — and has had a corresponding series of careers — waitressing, software engineering, grammar-writing, assistant professor, and archivist.

How all that adds up to writing historical fiction and madcap cozies is a mystery in itself, but somehow it revolves around her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas, but mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.


When cunning woman Jane Moone offers a tonic to a tailor’s wife to encourage romance in her marriage, it’s not long before the tailor is found covered with spots…and decidedly dead. Jane’s apothecary father is accused of the murder by the rival cunning man of Ayreford, Roger Quirk. Jane discovers that she needs all the help she can get to protect her father from the accusation–whether it comes from a talking cat, a rhyming fairy fellow, or the pompously handsome John Greenslade.

But as Jane uncovers piece after piece of evidence to prove her father’s innocence, a malevolent fairy taking the form of a crow glamors it to render it useless. Can Jane find a way to remove the glamor and convince a jury of superstitious Elizabethan villagers (who are not keen on having a woman involved in the trial process)?

This charming novella introduces a cast of characters in a strange world that supposes “what if?” What if all the superstitions in Tudor England were actually based in fact? What if animals could talk and fairies roamed free, ready to wreak their mischief on hapless town folk? Jane enters Ayreford as a woman with a checkered past in London, a woman ready to make a new beginning in her home town, and a woman curious enough to explore the strange realities that life continues to throw at her. Readers looking for a short and original read will enjoy this cozy mystery novella.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Talking to the cat was one thing. Many people spoke to their pets. But having the cat talk back — in a crisp, patrician accent — was something else altogether.

– The Case of the Spotted Tailor, by Anna Castle


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