I’m really enjoying Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series on audio! These are short paranormal mysteries that have appealing characters, are light on blood and violence, feature (but don’t focus too much on) romantic relationships, include a bit of humor, and have a great setting (a vintage clothing store in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco). Each mystery is self-contained but there’s an overarching plot that advances with each book (so you want to start with the first book, Secondhand Spirits).
In this fourth novel, Lily is attending an art deco charity ball with a date when she sees a woman fall unconscious in the restroom. It looks like witchcraft is at work. Lily can’t mind her own business, so she starts investigating and eventually unearths a nasty little plot involving a local coven, a fussy baby, a jilted lover, poisonous plants, backward masking, and a girl fight. Can Lily and her friends set things right?
Lily learns a lot about the local witches and, though she’s starting to make friends and fit in with her new community, she realizes that some of her neighbors don’t really trust her and she finds this unsettling. There are also some major changes in Lily’s love life. She gets ditched twice in In a Witch’s Wardrobe and one of her relationships waxes while another wanes. This part of the plot is bound to please some readers and displease others, but I think most will find it intriguing and will want to know where it’s going to go. As in the previous novels of the series, the mystery relies a lot on unlikely coincidences, which is a bit disappointing, but the characters and setting are enough to overcome this problem.
There are a couple of twists at the end of In a Witch’s Wardrobe that are certain to make readers anxious for the next book, Tarnished and Torn. (That’s an ominous title!) I’ve been listening to the audiobook versions (Tantor Audio) read by Xe Sands. These are fabulous productions. I think I could listen to Xe Sands read the full text of the Affordable Care Act and still be completely enthralled.