Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Magic Can Be Murder” as Want to Read:
Magic Can Be Murder
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Magic Can Be Murder

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  562 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Nola isn't much of a witch. She can work only a few useless spells, like the one that lets her spy on people by enchanting a bucket of water. But there's no spell for keeping her mother-who hears voices and is a magnet for witch-hunters-out of trouble. The two of them evade the authorities by traveling from town to town, taking odd jobs and moving on-until the day Nola mag ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 30th 2002 by Puffin (first published 2000)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Magic Can Be Murder, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Magic Can Be Murder

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 937)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Magic Can Be Murder Review
When thinking of magic and witches the stereotypical mean, warted, big nosed, long haired, ugly, heartless witch comes to mind. This witch usually has a broom, spell book, and a big spell pot. However, in the book Magic Can Be Murder, by Vivian Vande Velde, I liked how the two witches are nothing like that. Nola, the teen witch, and her mother are both witches. They aren't the most beautiful people on earth, but they are nothing like the stereotypical gross and mean wi
I love Vivian Vande Velde, but I would not consider this book to be on the same level as her other works. It fell a little flat for me. The main character brings all of her troubles on herself-- instead of enjoying the story, I just kept thinking that Nola was being silly and that none of it was necessary. The characters and relationships were not fleshed out enough to make up for this. It was a fine idea, and it could have been interesting, but it needed more substance.
This was a cute book. I recommend it to anyone who is going on a trip who wants to read a book of magic and a little romance. This book is kind of small and for a younger audience but its funny and enjoyable for the short time it takes to read it!
Kate Brown
"Magic Can Be Murder" is a wonderful book and could definitely be used as a read aloud. The plot moves very fast and I never found myself being bored with what was happening. Nola and her mother are witches. They move from place to place but are able to survive by doing housework, farming, and chores for different employers. When Nola casts a spell in a bucket of water at her last job, she must return and dump out the bucket before it is discovered. Unfortunately a murder occurs and Nola must st ...more
Rani B
May 22, 2014 Rani B added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa the Librarian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A cute and fun book about magic. The time and place are not mentioned but you get the feel of a ti me long ago. Nola the main character is a young witch who can see shadow forms in water with a persons hair. She travels with her mother seeking work and food. They are always on the move, and on the run from someone discovering they are witches.

Nola is just seventeen and on her own with her mom who is a bit quirky to say the least. They've had hard times and Nola doesn't see herself as a beautifu
Book Geek
My first love, as a kid, were fantasy novels set in other worlds or in a world suspiciously like medieval Europe. As I grew older, I moved and broadened my horizons, but I still have a weak spot for medieval based literature. This book sounded like something I’d like.

MAGIC CAN BE MURDER is a fast, cute read that fits the bill. I will be the first to admit, I read this while at home sick, so parts were probably lost on me. That being said, the book was well written and the murder portion was also
Salimata Konate
I really liked this book because it has the perfect combination of mysterary and funny bits.Also that it has to do with true love. For example,Even tho Gavin noticed she was a witch and not that atractive he still loved her for her and for how she looked like.Anthor example is when Noala mother had smacked noala in the back of her head so she can say something.
Somebody that would like this book is someone that likes mysterary,romance,and funny bits.For example in the book they try to find out wh
Clever mystery, with humor, in an interesting medieval time period, where people really can do magic. Nola and her mother move from town to town trying to stay ahead of the authorities who want to burn them or ban them when they learn that Nola can "bespell" water via witchcraft. It's really just a simple spell, toss a hair into water and she sees what that person is doing at the moment. But when she witnesses a murder and tries to extricate herself from being involved, things just get worse. Ok ...more
Janice (Janicu)
Pre-teen fantasy book. Nola is a witch and can do small spells like watch people using water with a hair placed in it. She is constantly worried: her mother hears voices and argues out loud with them. Nola knows what people do to witches so she and her mother wander from town to town doing odd jobs, never staying in one place long enough to be accused. One day Nola witnesses a murder during her scrying spell and things start to change. She realises that the murderer may try to frame them for the ...more
What can I say? I like Vivian Vande Velde--she's a good light read and her books always keep me entertained!
It was okay, not really sure why I didn't enjoy it...
This was my favorite book for a while!
amazing and interesting i would read it again.
This book was reminiscent of some of her earlier novels such as Dragon's Bait and The Conjurer Princess. The main character Nola is well meaning but gets her self deeper and deeper into trouble through lies and mistakes which is similar to Alys in Dragon's Bait and Lylene in The Conjurer Princess. I liked the book but I did feel that it was short and a rushed, it would have done better with a bit more space to describe everything more.
Sandra Strange
Charming novel and a fun read, this book involves a girl and her mother, both witches, trying to escape the persecution (and death) that comes if their magic becomes evident. In the course of trying to repair a bit of carelessness, the girl magically witnesses a murder. Her efforts to see justice done, escape being burned as a witch, and help the investigator whom she comes to love are comical and suspenseful.
This is the story of a witch and the problems she encounters just trying to get by unnoticed in the regular world. It was a pretty fun quick read. A little scary for my 5th grade students--one of them asked me to read it because it was so scary she couldn't make it through the book. I'm not sure it is really a story for 5th graders anyway. The themes are more adult, but it is romantic at the end.
Nola isn't much of a witch. She can work only a few useless spells, like the one that lets her spy on people by enchanting a bucket of water. But there's no spell for keeping her mother-who hears voices and is a magnet for witch-hunters-out of trouble. The two of them evade the authorities by traveling from town to town, taking odd jobs and moving on-until the day Nola magically witnesses a murder
Nola and her mother are witches, traveling the country looking for work, never staying in one place for fear of their powers being discovered. When Nola accidentally leaves magic out to be seen by the last family she worked for, she frantically searches for a way to return get rid of it. Nola magically witness a murder and gets caught in a web of conspiracy, murder, lies an love.
Throughout the entire book I kept thinking to myself, "If you tell a lie, you have to tell another to cover that one, then another, and another. . . " That is exactly what happened to Nola in this book. Luckily for her (and thanks to the author's ability to affect changes), it all works out happily ever after. I wasn't impressed.
The premise of this book was interesting. I enjoyed the mystery, the magic, and that there was a slight twist to it. The reason I only gave the book 2 stars was because in the end, the romance fell a little flat to me. I didn't think the relationship was developed enough for there to be much of a relationship there.
This book was super short, even for a YA novel. But I liked the plucky heroine, and that she sought to correct the things she could honorably. I thought the bit of romance thrown in was a little much for so short a story. But it was still fine.
Why has no one thought of witches and murder before. It is so awesome! The only problem I had with this book was the poor editing. When it was put into the Kindle edition, it had a lot of c's as t's and stuff like that. Worth the read though :)
Though this is not particularly a favorite of mine, I still hammered through the book. It was very simple, nothing too hard to understand. It was a kind of mystery with only a little magic mixed in. In my opinion, there should have been more.
Magic can be Murder was a murder mystery and a story of witchcraft and love.It is a neat story and all of the shape shifting really keeps you on your toes. The downside? They could have played up the romance a little more. Rating: PG
Gillian Whitfield
Magic Can Be Murder is a charming novel for young teens. For older teens, it's still got that charm, but it's aimed for thirteen-fifteen age range. I enjoyed it, but it's not the greatest book I've read.
More a comedy of errors for the 10-14 yr-olds than a fairy tale, although it has the traditional trappings of witchcraft, peasants, and petticoats. Another spunky heroine, too.
Rating this book so low because all the character got on my nerves.And this book was way too predictable. Anyway didn't really appreciate the concept or the plot.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 31 32 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Wizard's Dozen: Stories Of The Fantastic
  • By These Ten Bones
  • Wren's War (Wren, #3)
  • Nightpool (Dragonbards #1)
  • The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf (The Squire's Tales, #3)
  • The Whim of the Dragon (The Secret Country, #3)
  • Belle Teale
  • An Earthly Knight
  • Not Just a Witch
  • In The Stone Circle
  • Coyote Autumn
  • Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth
  • Magician's Ward (Mairelon, #2)
  • Changer
Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, currently residing in Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at young adults.

Her novels and short story collections usually have some element of horror or fantasy, but are primarily humorous. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel. She says that she really likes to write for
More about Vivian Vande Velde...
Heir Apparent (Rasmussem Corporation, #2) Dragon's Bait Companions of the Night The Rumpelstiltskin Problem Cloaked in Red

Share This Book