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That Old Black Magic (Wedding Cake Mystery, #4)
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That Old Black Magic (Wedding Cake Mystery #4)

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  691 ratings  ·  115 reviews
New York Times bestselling author Mary Jane Clark whips up a savory and suspenseful confection, filled with murder, mystery, history, and voodoo, in which Piper Donovan must unmask a devious killer striking in New Orleans's legendary French Quarter

That old black magic

Aspiring actress and wedding-cake decorator Piper Donovan has barely arrived in New Orleans to perfect her
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 21st 2014 by William Morrow (first published January 1st 2014)
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This was an okay cozy mystery. There were aspects I liked and others I didn't, but overall, I enjoyed it.

Some of the things that drew me to the book were:

1) it's set in New Orleans, which is one of my favourite locations, and this book did a very good job of making the reader feel like they were in the city, by talking about the music, the people, the food and the culture. This really added to my enjoyment of the book.

2) There's a good sized cast of characters and they are unique, quirky and in

For someone like me who has never read this author, you may find her style of writing confusing, the large amounts of characters and red herrings annoying and the main character Piper, silly and naïve. For those of you who like this very sweet form of cozy mystery, you will most likely love this novel AND if you follow this author you will love this book!

I will say that the author did do a very good job of deflecting the reader from figuring out who done it. I don’t think there was even the bare
If the mystery writer's last name is Clark, I will most likely like the story. Piper Donovan is in New Orleans for a week to study with a master baker. Soon one of the merchants, a sandwich maker, on the street has been murdered. Several nights later, her master baker meets his death. The only commonality, besides being a merchant on Royal Street, comes from the nursery rhyme, "Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub." And then, yes, the candlestick maker also dies. Dubbed the "Hoodoo Murderer" becaus ...more
Feb 13, 2014 Melissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery/Suspense readers
"That Old Black Magic" is the fourth installment in the Piper Donovan Mystery Series. Prior to reading this book, I would have said most of the prior books did not need to be read in any particular order. "That Old Black Magic" should be read after "Footprints in the Sand" because there are quite a few references from the prior Piper Donovan book. It is definitely a page turner and a quick read. As with prior books, the chapters are super short. I have read and enjoyed all of Ms. Clark's books. ...more
Sharon Redfern
I have enjoyed all of the books in this series and this one is no different. Piper finds herself in New Orleans working at a famous patisserie in the French Quarter. She soon finds herself in the middle of a voodoo linked series of murders. Piper is recuperating from a previous near death experience and contending for a possible movie role . The fact that the patisserie owner is a bit of a lech doesn't help reduce her stress. She is also missing her FBI agent boyfriend Jack, who is worried about ...more
Disappointed that the New Orleans setting for this light murder mystery couldn't save me from the struggle I experienced to finish. I just wasn't able to get into the characters or the story line. It's like skimming the surface with no dive sequence to plunge this reader into the depths of the journey. The story centers around a bakery in New Orleans. Thank you to the author for including a scrumptious recipe for beignets a New Orleans favorite. Yum.
Becky Hutchison
Mary Jane Clark's THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC is set around St. Patrick's Day in New Orleans. Wedding cake baker Piper Donovan wins a contest to apprentice with the renowned Bertrand Olivier, a philandering baker with an amazing creative flair. She's starstruck and vows to learn as much as she can from the baker while she's there. Most of the action takes place on Royal Street in the French Quarter, where during her short stay Piper meets colorful local residents and shopkeepers pivotal to the story. ...more
I really didn't care for this. I'm aware of the author's name and thought I'd give her a try with her latest on the library's Sizzler rack. It was just not intelligent. Very, very shallow. I'm not a fan of the James Patterson School of the Pop Novel with 2-page chapters and soap-opera cliffhanger sentences ending each chapter. Blech.

I don't even understand this "series" -- this girl is a wedding cake decorator when she's not shooting commercials and bit parts as an aspiring actress and wherever
Cake decorator/ aspiring actress Piper Donavan is back in That Old Black Magic. This time around, she has traveled to New Orleans to work with a world famous baker and bake a cake for a wedding. Of course, someone is murdered and Piper can't help but stumble into the mystery. I did like this mystery and the killer took me by surprise. I liked how Piper put it together this time. As in her other books, the list of suspects is long and filled with many who could definitely have done it!

I have to
I really liked this book.Aspiring actress and wedding cake decorator Piper Donovan has barely arrived in New Orleans to perfect her pastry skills at the renowned French Quarter bakery Boulangerie Betrand when a ghastly murder rocks this magical city. Intrigued by the case, Piper can't help but look for the Hoodoo killer among the faces around her. Could it be the handsome guide eager to give her special private tours? Or the inscrutable jazz musician who plays on historic Royal Street? What abou ...more
Cynthia Flores
I've avoided reading adult mystery fiction for many years and decided to finally try it out. I'm hoping there is something a bit more substantial out there than what I read here. I'm not talking Sherlock Holmes. That's a given. I'm speaking of the general mystery fiction. This book idea was a great one. New Orleans, food, interesting characters, etc. The problem with this story is that there was not one character in this book that actually had any true character. It had me thinking that maybe my ...more
Teena in Toronto
Piper is a baker and an actress. She has won a contest to spend some time with Bertrand, a famous baker, in New Orleans. As soon as she arrives, there is a murder and people suspect it has something to do with voodoo. A couple days later, there is another murder of a merchant on the same street. While dealing with this happening around her, she lands a small part in a movie opposite Channing Tatum plus has to bake a couple cakes for an upcoming wedding.

This is the first book I've read by this au
Bill Mackela
I normally stay away from the mysteries that have a kind of cutesy premise, you know what I mean, Seaside Knitters, Tea Shop, Chocoholic, Cookie Cutter Shop, or Wedding Cake Mysteries. But then, I'm always drawn to stories that take place in New Orleans, so when I saw that the author seemed to have some chops, and the book description sounded more like dinner than dessert, I figured I'd place my order. I'm glad that I did.

Ms. Clark has written a very mysterious mystery. What I mean is that there
I don't read "cozy" mysteries, so i guess it is my bad that I didn't catch this in the reviews. Also, as I was listening to the audio version it is difficult to know how much my reaction to the reader affected my impression. But I am a sucker for NOL location stories so I tried. Yuck. Characters shallow. I guess it was when I realized that I was listening to a bartender named "Wuzzy" talking to a customer who sang "fuzzy, Wuzzy was a bear" to start their conversation that I had to stop. Wuzzy wa ...more
I really liked the KEYS news series of books by this author, but the Wedding Cake series is still not a big hit with me. I can't put my finger on it, but I'm just not clicking with the protagonist in them enough to care about her fate. In this one, our protagonist isn't even really trying to solve the mystery of a serial killer, and yet somehow she does anyway, after putting herself in peril again of course. Along the way, you will read several lists of baked goods she sold each day at the baker ...more
Shazza Maddog
An enjoyable mystery taking place in New Orleans, LA. Piper Donovan, a cake decorator/actress, won an apprenticeship to Boulangerie Bertrand, a renowned bakery in the French Quarter. She arrives just in time for St. Patrick's Day, missing Mardi Gras, but not everything exciting in the town. Almost the day she arrives, a murder takes place, a man who owns a sandwich shop. Piper thinks it's creepy, but doesn't really think anything of it, until a second murder takes place, almost right under her n ...more
Kevin Tiemeyer
I have been giving many books 5 stars lately and this one is well deserved as well. I read across the spectrum in the mystery field and this book is in the vein of cozy/suspense. Very much like a Mary Higgins Clark novel. The 4th in the series and I think the best so far. It has shades of a plot line in an Agatha Christie novel which will remand nameless to not spoil anything. The book brought to life a New Orleans at a different time then Mardi Gras.
I liked the pacing and the short chapters, w
I started reading this series because it's set in my town, but if she's not going to keep the action in NJ, I may move on. The writing is very formulaic, with lots of red herrings. Her New Orleans is a little too touristy for me, and Piper is a little too perfect.

The local characters are better drawn, and Piper's parents and love interest are also compelling characters. If you've liked her other books (or her former MIL's - their style is very similar) you should check this out. It's consistent
Debby Long
Was a really GREAT read. I didn't know "who done it" til it was revealed.
Mark Flowers
SLJ review:

CLARK, Mary Jane. That Old Black Magic. 320p. (Piper Donovan Series). Morrow. Jan. 2014. Tr $25.99. ISBN 9780062135476.

That Old Black Magic 222x300 That Old Black MagicAdult/High School–After her traumatic near-death experience in Footprints in the Sand (Morrow, 2013), Piper Donovan wants nothing more to do with amateur detective work. Instead, she’s in New Orleans, focusing on her more traditional careers of cake decorating and acting, landing
This is the fourth book in the Wedding Cake Mystery series with Piper Donovan at the forefront. It is reminiscent to me of the Regan Reilly mystery series by Carol Higgins Clark (and no relation as far as I know). This book is set in New Orleans with Hoodoo and Voodoo at its center along with three murders. The description of the city, the businesses and Royal Street made me feel like I was there. I look forward to many more books in the series and seeing Piper and Jack's romance continue to gro ...more
Karen Davis engelbert
For as much as I anticipated the release of the newest in the Piper Donovan series, I was disappointed, primarily with the ending. While several characters had motives to become potential suspects in the murder spree, the reader is robbed of the satisfaction of unraveling the clues to determine "who done it". Just as the plot is reaching the point that the reader should be expecting the final piece to the puzzle, the author reveals the murderer's name, summing it up with a tidy little motive tha ...more
I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.

This is my first Mary Jane Clark book. I will say first of all that most of her long list of books have fairly high ratings. I'm assuming if you are a loyal reader, or fan of other books in the Piper Donovan series, you will enjoy this book. There were a lot of references to Piper's previous brush with death (I'm assuming in the last book in the series), but there were almost too many. I got that she was for some reason almost poi
I did enjoy this book quite a bit. The story was intricately woven and I found myself caring about what happened to each of the characters. It also provided a vibrate description of New Orleans, which makes me want to go back and visit immediately. I think the beighets recipe at the end of the book was a really nice touch since there is so much discussion of the bakery and the delicious treats that are made. My biggest issue with the book was that it was part of a series. I did not know that whe ...more
Rebecca Gernon
A good read. Well written, fast moving, kept me interested. As a resident of New Orleans I caught several errors about local things, but all and all a good mystery. Several possible people could have been the murderer. Characters seemed real, dialogue good. Would be nice though to have mystery set in New Orleans which did not contain voodoo or hoodoo. Much more to New Orleans than that. I would recommend this mystery. I like it enough to read other books by this author.
Sofia Wren
Simple, easy and quick to read. Not as much actual magic as I would have liked from the title of the book--it's not a true paranormal.

The story is set in New Orleans, and has a Hoo-doo or voodoo themed killing spree.

It is cut into super tiny chapters so it's really easy to read.

I'd recommend checking this out from the library because it's fun in the moment but then you'll be done fast and never intend on reading it again.

It doesn't have a whole lot of substance.
Sherri Stephens
Great read, I enjoyed the development of Piper her ability to continue on with her life. MJC didn't just dismiss her previous near death experience but added it to this installment. Piper heads to New Orleans, a city filled with history, tragedy, and mystery. No sooner does she arrive than a murder occurs, determined not to investigate. She becomes embroiled in a series of murders and comes to confront her fears in a realistic way. I look forward to the next installment.
Actress and baker Piper Donovan wins a contest for a week with a famed New Orleans bakery, but finds herself in the midst of a murder wave, as a mysterious figure leaves voodoo clues with the dead bodies. Naturally, Piper--still suffering a mental reaction after her last adventure, finds herself in the thick of things, enough so that the police consider her a suspect. Imagine! Piper, daughter of a retired policeman and girlfriend of an FBI agent!
Mary Schildman

This is the first book I've read in the series (this is #4). Will go back and read first three. I suspected the murderer, but dismissed the idea. WOW. I should have known better. Love the New Orleans site, good characters, great plot! Recipe was a bonus, but wanted the Banana Foster cake recipe ! Now I must check out the internet for it. Looking forward to more adventures.
This is a nice way to return to New Orleans. Looking back, it seems as though the author has made a big leap to have Piper go there to train under the pastry chef--surely there could have been someone equally talented in the New York City area. It is also fortuitous that she gets a bit part in a movie starring Channing Tatum! THe characters are interesting--other than her whiny boyfriend back home.
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Mary Jane Clark is the author of thirteen novels, including 12 in the KEY News media thriller series, and one in her new Wedding Cake mystery series. A veteran writer and producer for CBS News, Clark worked for almost three decades at the network’s New York City headquarters. Her books are published in twenty-three languages. She lives in New Jersey and Florida.

Clark's former mother-in-law and sis
More about Mary Jane Clark...

Other Books in the Series

Wedding Cake Mystery (4 books)
  • To Have and to Kill (Wedding Cake Mystery, #1)
  • The Look of Love (Wedding Cake Mystery, #2)
  • Footprints in the Sand (Wedding Cake Mystery, #3)
To Have and to Kill (Wedding Cake Mystery, #1) Do You Want To Know A Secret? (KEY News #1) Nobody Knows (KEY News #5) It Only Takes a Moment (Sunrise Suspense Society #2) When Day Breaks (Sunrise Suspense Society #1)

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