A tome like The Quality Cauldron by Keening Ann Hobgoblin comes along very rarely, and that's probably a good thing.
In this 3,268-page opus, available either bound in 13 volumes (written in the blood of minor demons on parchment flayed from the backs of pegasi) or as a convenient e-book from Azmodeus.com, Hobgoblin presents a variety of quality-improvement tips for witches, wizards, and various types of supernatural beings such as vampires, zombies, and ghosts.
One entire volume covers the application of Six Sigma -- or, as Hobgoblin presents it, 666 Sigma -- to the production of witches' brews and other potions. Hobgoblin discusses how the potency of such concoctions can vary, and introduces ways to reduce the variation through better relations with suppliers (to ensure the freshest eyes of newts and other ingredients), more consistent control of temperature and environmental variables (it was quite surprising to know how much humidity affects love potions), and even the selection of specific cauldron sizes and materials.
New vampires will greatly benefit from the volume on safety. The chapter on blood-borne pathogens was particularly enlightening, as this reviewer was unaware that blood sucking could be quite so dangerous; Hobgoblin even provides a helpful list of testing laboratories near to all the known vampire enclaves. And the appendix will be useful even for master vampires, as it contains Material Safety Data Sheets on the most common types of wood used in stakes. (The MSDS on silver will also be of interest to werewolves.)
The author made a valiant effort to address the specific needs of the zombie population, making note of the fact that their slow and uncoordinated movements can affect their consumption of victim's brains. Hobgoblin provides results of several time-and-motion studies of brain eating and produces an easy-to-understand checklist that reduces the process to its simplest elements. However, this reviewer suspects that the checklist may still be too complicated for most zombies.
The first twelve volumes are a treasure trove of information too rich to be detailed in a simple review, such as 5S organization techniques that would apply to almost any mad scientist's laboratory; standard work processes for mummification; and haunting export tips for ghosts that want to expand their territories beyond particular houses in order to spread their terror to other establishments.
The 13th volume, however, presented a particular challenge to this reviewer. Upon reading the first section aloud under the most recent full moon, I inadvertently started the process of becoming certified to the international standard on supernatural quality; however, since doing so also summoned one of the Elder Gods who oversee the ISO process -- and since I see it waving its tentacles just outside my door -- I fear I will not be able to finish this final volume before being dragged into an alternate dimension and sacrificed for the ISO registration. So I post this review, unfinished, with high hopes that other readers will enjoy Hobgoblin's Quality Cauldron masterwork as much as I did ... up to now.
Image credit: "Cauldron," by kinwart, on Flickr under Creative Commons.