Monday, March 13, 2017

Have You Heard? - Juliet Blackwell's Tarnished and Torn

Goodread’s Sandie Herron's Reviews > Tarnished and Torn

Tarnished and Torn by Juliet Blackwellby Juliet Blackwell, Narrated by Xe Sands
5th in the Witchcraft series

It's a girl's day out for the ladies from Lily Ivory's vintage clothing store Aunt Cora's Closet.  There’s a huge gem fair to be held at the COW Palace in San Francisco, and Lily, co-workers and friends Maya and Bronwyn are all standing in very long lines, waiting to enter.  Finally the doors are opened, and they rush in to be met by an astoundingly huge sales floor.  The ladies each take a different direction agreeing to meet in an hour by the food court.  

Lily is attracted to a table full of jewelry and gemstones.  The woman running the booth is disheveled and rushed, trying to unpack what she thinks will sell.  She keeps striking up conversations, trying to sell this or that.  In the end, she convinces Lily to take a box of what even she calls junk so she won’t have to take it home, and she thrusts the box into her hands.  Shortly thereafter, Oscar, in his pig form, began bounding about inside the Palace, even tho Lily had left him in the car.  Suddenly small fires began breaking out across the arena.  Lily and Oscar meet up and turned to be sure Griselda had gotten out before they leave, when Lily notices that blood is coming from underneath a large board on the ground.  An old ritual to torture and sometimes kill witches called pressing had just made Griselda a victim, right beside them.  They couldn’t help Griselda, so Lily and Oscar ran out of the COW Palace and met back up with Maya and Bronwyn.  They drove back to Cora’s Closet while being followed by two older men.  Waiting for them was one of SFPD’s men to bring Lily in for questioning in the death of Griselda.

Lily was not a suspect; homicide detective Carlos Ramirez wanted to know if Lily knew anything of this practice and who would be capable of it.  While talking with Ramirez, Lily is shocked to see her estranged father walk by, the same man who had abandoned Lily and her mother when she was very young.  Even Lily’s mother was overwhelmed with her upbringing and sent her to Mexico to live with her grandmother when she was 8.  Lily is musing about family when she realizes that “One’s role models can only do so much to shape our individual lives.  When it comes right down to it, we each walk the path of this life alone, and make our decisions based on our own distinct beliefs, desires, and fears.”

While Carlos did not suspect Lily, the two older men continued to follow her.  Later on that team was replaced by two younger and not so smart men – Clem and Zeke.  She ran into them literally, following the trail of the man who said he was Griselda’s son from an inn to a hostel to a strip joint.  Walking to the last, Zeke and Clem confronted her and wanted the ring Griselda supposedly gave her.  Well, now she knew what everyone was looking for.  Zeke and Clem moved only to be hit by the old men in their huge old car, sending them to the hospital.

When Lily returns to her apartment above the shop, Oscar is waiting for her.  She had helped him get a library card, and he was reveling in reading and watching movies.  He seemed to think  he had the mystery of the ring all figured out.  Aunt Agatha had said … when Lily interrupted him to explain that her books had been fiction, made up, pretend.  Lies, said Oscar.  He began anew with a supposition that what about this guy “Hercules somethingorother who was on the Orient Express train and figured out a real humdinger of a mystery.  Boy, that was a tough one.  We could hire him.”  Lily again explained that he was like Miss Marple, a made up person.  Oscar’s jaw dropped when he realized they were all “falsehoods.”  However, when Oscar asks if he can hire Sam Spade, a local boy, would Lily agree to that?  She would.

Things actually did begin to come together even without Sam Spade.  Everyone held a tiny piece of the story, and Lily actually figured out where the missing ring was.  We’ll have Oscar tell you all about it…  Sandie Herron

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