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Review: Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell

Hexes and Hemlines (A Witchcraft Mystery #3) by Juliet Blackwell
Mystery, Witchcraft
Mass Market Paperback $7.99 (336 pages, SIGNET)
Ebook $7.99

Lily gets called away from her vintage clothing store to give police a witch's take on how the leader of a rationalist society could be murdered, surrounded by superstitions he discredited.
Evidence points to dark witchcraft. Lily's determined to use magic of her own to find the murderer, before everyone's luck runs out.

Author Site: julietblackwell.net

Stronger than A Cast-Off Coven (4 stars)

Lily Ivory is back, but instead of stumbling into a mystery through her vintage clothes fetish this time she's been called in by inspector Carlos Romero to informally consult on a crime scene. Local eccentric Malachi Zazi has been murdered surrounded by traditional symbols of bad luck including a black cat. Symbols that Zazi was trying to disprove along with his own special society.

When Bronwyn's family gets pulled into the mysterious circumstances of Zazi's death the plot thickens and Lily will have to choose between protecting the friend who accepted her so unconditionally and obeying her friend's wishes. It seems everyone's luck is about to change and only Lily seems willing to face it head on.

I really had issues with the previous installment in the series so I was a little worried coming into this one. There are some continuity issues between the final chapter of A CAST-OFF COVEN and the first chapter HEXES AND HEMLINES but once you get past that the story picks up nicely.

Bronwyn, who has always been a favorite of mine, finally gets some attention this time and the limits of her friendship with Lily get tested. Lily's relationship with Max is sort of on hold while he's out-of-town but I've never cared for it so if you're indifferent to their thing you'll be spared too much of their soppy back-and-forth-never-going-anywhere relationship. Meanwhile, we get a little more insight into Sailor, whom I'm starting to like for his mysteriousness.

Apparently there are also several different 'schools' of magic which receive a slight bit of definition. We're introduced to devil worshipping magic and Rom (gypsy) magic. Part of me finds this a bit annoyingly unfair since Blackwell has made Wicca essentially non-magical. Keeping it all straight may prove confusing in future installments but worked well to tell this story. While the true villain was pretty obvious right away the plot flowed nicely and wasn't overly bogged down by slow parts. My only major beef was the lack of importance vintage clothes played in this installment, these are witchcraft mysteries but the clothes always had a more important role before and I liked that.

Overall this is a good addition to the series and an entertaining mystery if you enjoy a dash of the supernatural with your crime-solving.

Other Reviews:
Lesa's Book Critiques

Notes: Received Review Copy via Publisher.

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