cover image Speak Daggers to Her

Speak Daggers to Her

Rosemary Edghill. Forge, $19.95 (222pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85604-5

This adroit and often sardonic blend of New York City hip and New Age neo-Paganism begins with a death, maybe by witchcraft, and introduces a modern witch as sleuth. Bast, whose mundane name is Karen Hightower, receives a desperate phone call from Lace Devereaux, who has just discovered the body of her lover, Miriam Seabrook. Bast becomes suspicious about the death, especially after discovering that the victim's ceremonial knife, her athame , is missing. Long a hanger-on in occult circles, Miriam had recently joined a new, highly secretive coven and had cut herself off from her old friends and haunts. Bast trawls the ``New York Metropagan Community'' for clues, drawing both indifference and threatening anonymous phone calls. She tracks down Ruslan, the authoritarian head of Miriam's coven, Baba Yaga, who is searching for the Khazar Wicca , an illustrated book purporting to contain the coven's rituals. Despite her reliance on capital letters, Regency romance author Edghill ( Fleeting Fancy ) deftly evokes the witchly milieu, exposing its factions and politics. Bast is a quirky, honorable protagonist whom readers will look forward to seeing again. (May)