Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 336pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley/Obsidian)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Juliet Blackwell on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Hexes and Hemlines
Synopsis (Book Blurb):
With her vintage clothing store taking off, Lily Ivory is finding that life in San Francisco suits her just fine. But her ability to sense vibrations from the past, so useful in locating secondhand gems, has landed her in the middle of a new mystery...
Lily gets called away from Aunt Cora's Closet when the police need a witch's take on a strange case. Malachi Zazi was stabbed to death in his apartment, under a ladder, surrounded by the number thirteen, a broken mirror, and a black cat - superstitions that the victim, as head of a rationalist society was devoted to discrediting.
When the police identify a suspect from the Serpentarian Society. Lily is shocked to learn it's someone she knows. But with bad luck plaguing all the members, she begins to wonder if there's more at work than mere coincidence. And while there aren't many clues from the crime scene. Lily finds evidence of dark witchcraft and a hex on her friend's doorstep. With her friend's safety at stake, Lily is determined to use magic to find the murderer before everyone's luck runs out...
Juliet Blackwell has created a series that will appeal to mystery fans as well as paranormal enthusiasts. Blackwell's latest release, Hexes and Hemlines is the third book in the Witchcraft Mystery series. Fans of cozy mysteries will find this one full of interesting characters and information on Wiccan and occult lore. This may be lighter type of mystery but it definitely packs a punch. Readers who love paranormal characters will fall in love with Lily Ivory and her vintage clothing shop. A great addition to the series!
Lily Ivory is living her dream of owning her own vintage clothing shop. She has also helped the San Francisco police on a few cases, with uncanny ability to feel vibrations from the past. When the SFPD asks for her help with a new case involving a the head of a rationalist society, Lily is quick to access the situation. Malachi Zazi is known for refuting superstitions and bad luck omens and when he is found murdered he is surrounded by several of them, a black cat, a ladder, and a broken mirror among them. Lily can see that the scene has been magically cleaned up and she knows that dark magic is at work here. Her mentor Adian tries to warn her off the case, but Lily's friend Bronwyn has asked her for her help. Lily feels that she has to do the right thing and find the killer, but she may have bitten off a lot more than she can chew.
Juliet Blackwell does a remarkable job of giving readers interesting characters to read about. Combining both a mystery and a paranormal, Blackwell has opened up this series to a bigger audience. Lily Ivory is a character that fans of the series have grown to love. Hexes and Hemlines can be read as a stand alone or as part of the Witchcraft Mystery series. Lily's adventures take place in San Francisco and I think the author does a fantastic job of describing life in this city and what kinds of things Lily would be experiencing. Blackwell's attention to detail is a part of her writing style that gives her books an authenticity that some books don't seem to have.
Blackwell is also very adept at incorporating occult and Wiccan ideas and practices into her books. I am sure that the author has spent a great deal of time in research or is very interested in the subject to be able to give the detail and the polish to this aspect of the book. I found the subject matter interesting, it's not something I have read a lot about and even though this was a mystery novel, I still felt like the author was able to educate me as a reader. I think other readers who have interests in this area will love it, as well as readers who just enjoy paranormal characters. Lily's familiar, Oscar a pot-bellied pig added a lot of comic relief to the book and readers will find him quite funny.
The mystery itself was full of bad luck and superstitions. Living in Kentucky where superstitions are known to rule everything from where you can walk to how to plant your crops, I found this part of the book easy to relate to and understand. Malachi Zazi was a part of a group that refuted these types of things and I thought it was a great touch to surround him by the very things he was trying to combat in his death. I liked the way that Lily was able to use her own magic to figure out the clues to the killer. The supporting cast including Adian, her mentor and Bronwyn her friend, added to the book as well. This was a well thought out whodunit and I definitely didn't figure it out til the very end.
I liked this one a lot and I recommend it to readers who love cozies and the paranormal. Putting the two together makes a great combination and a great series. Hexes and Hemlines is the third book in the series, but it's not necessary to read the others to understand what's going on, but it does give the reader a lot of backstory and information on the characters.
Hexes and Hemlines is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Juliet Blackwell is the pseudonym for a mystery author who, together with her sister, wrote the Art Lover's Mystery Series as Hailey Lind--including the Agatha-nominated Feint of Art and the IMBA bestsellers Shooting Gallery and Brush with Death. The fourth in the series, Arsenic and Old Paint, will be released in fall, 2010.
Juliet's new paranormal Witchcraft Mystery series begins with Secondhand Spirits (July, 2009), about a witch with a vintage clothing store in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. The second in the series, A Cast-Off Coven, will be released June, 2010. Juliet also has a new Haunted Home Renovation series starting in 2010.
A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France. She is a California native and currently resides in a happily haunted house in Oakland, where she is a muralist, portrait painter, and recipient of the overly zealous attentions of her neighbor's black cat, who seems to imagine himself her new familiar. Juliet is two-term president of Northern California Sisters in Crime.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell.
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