Friday, June 10, 2011

Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell

I think Juliet Blackwell is using a little of her own witchcraft when she writes her Witchcraft Mysteries. Hexes and Hemlines, the third in the series, casts a spell over the reader. But, Blackwell's mysteries are not fluffy magical stories. They're engrossing, complex stories of good versus evil, dangerous situations, with light twists of fantasy and humor.

Lily Ivory is the witch who owns Aunt Cora's Closet, a vintage clothing store in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Usually, she's leery about letting people know she's a witch, but SFPD Homicide Inspector Carlos Romero asked her to look at a crime scene. She could understand why when she saw the scene, composed as if it was a stage. Malachi Zazi had been murdered, left in a room with a trapped sparrow, a black cat, a ladder, a broken mirror, and thirteen chairs on the thirteenth floor of the building. Zazi was the founder of a local club devoted to debunking magic. Although the club was based on a NYC club in the late 1800s, most of the current members were children of the rich and powerful in San Francisco. But, none of them had answers as to Zazi's murder, and Lily had never seen anything like it.

That murder scene is something that Lily just can't let go. There were too many coincidences that continued to lead her back to the case, everything from the involvement of her assistant, to the appearance in her shop of a young movie star who attended the last dinner at Zazi's. There is a powerful woman opposed to Lily's involvement, which makes her more determined to find out who was behind the man's death. And, someone is using hexes and snakes to get their point across; stay out of this case.  Lily Ivory definitely needs the support of friends, from her familiar, Oscar, to the mysterious man, Sailor, in order to dig into this murder.

It's no surprise to see Juliet Blackwell concoct her own blend of humor, mystery, vintage clothing, and history of witchcraft. This time, we learn a little more about Lily's history, and a little more about her delightful familiar, Oscar, who takes the form of a pot-bellied pig. So often Oscar is the focus of the humor, but he proves to be quite heroic as well. And, for the first time in her life, Lily is finding a network of friends.

If you like characters with secrets and depth, a little magic and history with your mystery, allow yourself to fall under the spell of Juliet Blackwell's Hexes and Hemlines. I can foresee enjoyable reading in your future.

Juliet Blackwell's website is

Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell. Obsidian. ©2011. ISBN 9780451233783 (paperback), 324p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Shelley said...

This looks really cute. Good summer reading that's not too fluffy! I love the cover too.

Lesa said...


It is a good one. My sister and I both like this series.

Kris said...

Glad to see you enjoyed this one! I'm actually reading it now.

Lesa said...

I hope you're enjoying it as much as I did, Kris.