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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review - Hexes and Hemlines

This week we go to San Francisco for murder with a snake motif.  I have reviewed the first in this series "Secondhand Spirits"- click here, the second "A Cast Off Coven" - click here, and interviewed the author - click here

Author: Juliet Blackwell

Copyright: June 2011 (Signet) 314 pgs

Series: 3rd in Witchcraft Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy

Main Character:  Natural witch Lily Ivory, owner of a vintage clothing store called Aunt Cora's Closet

Setting: Modern day, San Francisco

Obtained Through: Publisher for an honest review.

Malachi Zazi is murdered in his apartment after a Serpentarian dinner party he hosted.  The Serpentarian society is all about flaunting superstitions. Zazi's apartment is filled with bad luck signs, like a broken mirror.  A shard from that mirror was used to stab Malachi.  Inspector Carlos Romero calls Lily in as a consultant because of the strange aspects in the case.  But Lily's involvement infuriates the local top-dog witch, Aidan Rhodes, and gets her employee and dear friend hexed.  Lily doesn't back down.  In fact, hexing her friend was the biggest mistake the killer ever made.  

I have followed this series since the first book and I feel each book was better than the previous.  Lily's character is opened up a bit more in this book.  If you have read any of the others you know Lily has traveled the world and feels she is an outsider until opening her vintage clothing shop in San Francisco.  Even though she was close to her grandmother, she can never go back to her.  In this book we get a flashback of what happened to force her to leave and why she can't go back.  That was an important part of Lily and her story.  Lily also shows her protectiveness to the only friends she has ever had.

An interesting development in this book is Lily wanting to complete her education by pursuing her GED and also her education on her powers and the paranormal world.  But everybody is against Aidan being her teacher.  More is revealed about Aidan and it seems he has ulterior motives that aren't in Lily's best interests.

As always, Lily's familiar (part Gargoyle, part Goblin who takes the shape of a potbellied pig around people) is good comic relief.  A character introduced in the book just prior called Sailor returns in this book and a little more is revealed about his sad past and how devious Aidan is to take advantage of his situation.  Sailor has a lot of potential that is just beginning to be tapped and I am looking forward to seeing how this character is utilized.

The plot was interesting.  I thought I knew who the killer was but I was wrong.  I never did figure out the motive on my own.  So it was a good mystery that gave me a fun time figuring out the killer and the motive.  The confrontation with the killer was surprisingly handled.  If you don't want vampires and ghouls, this cozy mystery with witchy touches is definitely worth a try.

Since the story involves superstitions - I just couldn't resist including the classic song "Superstition".

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