Author: Juliet Blackwell
Series: A Witchcraft Mystery #9
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Description: Lily Ivory and her friends are planning a 1950s-themed brunch to benefit the local women's shelter. When a figure from her past shows up unannounced, threatening her unless she returns something that belonged to him, Lily's fiancé, Sailor, steps in to defend her. After the same man is found dead later that day, Sailor is the primary suspect. He swears he's innocent, but multiple witnesses ID him as the perpetrator of the assault. Lily vows to clear his name...only she's not sure where to start with the mounting evidence against him.
When she sees Sailor in the neighborhood despite knowing he's in jail, Lily starts to wonder if there could be a doppelganger in San Francisco. When she's not busy helping customers find matching outfits for the upcoming event, searching for a vintage wedding dress for her own nuptials, and dealing with an ill-timed magical cold, Lily begins to suspect one of her magical foes is targeting her loved ones in an attempt to weaken her.
It's been almost two years since readers have had a new book in this series, so when I received a notice that there was a release date for book 9, it was an automatic pre-order. This is one of my favorite paranormal cozy mystery series and I have loved the characters, the setting and the mysteries from the very first book.
What keeps me coming back to this series is the author and the characters. Ms. Blackwell has a writing style that creates such a wonderful world that the reader is instantly transported to San Francisco and becomes engaged in the story. Lily Ivory is a wonderful protagonist. I have enjoyed watching her grow and develop through the course of nine books now. It hasn't always been an easy journey. Lily struggles to continue on her path to grown her talent and powers and a witch while balancing that with the family she has created with her friends. The secondary cast of characters is delightful. It is comprised of both human and magical characters that each has a role to play in Lily's life and development. I also like that Lily has found love. Although, in typical Lily fashion, that goes a bit awry as well.
The mystery is well done and is woven through the entire story. It has a unique premise involving a doppelganger who looks like Lily's fiance Sailor, which of course results in Sailor being arrested for a crime. With an already full plate that includes a fundraiser at the shop, a wedding to plan, and a caravan of coven grandma's headed to San Francisco, Lily now has to add "get her fiance out of jail" to that list. Because of the uniqueness of how the murder is committed, there are plenty of suspects to choose from in the magical community. Ms. Blackwell throws in plenty of twists and turns to the mix to keep her readers guessing. In the end, I was surprised by the identity of the killer, but it made sense. j
This is a delightful series and one that I always pre-order. It has wonderful characters that are rich and developed but continue to grow in each story. The setting in a vintage clothes shop in San Francisco with paranormal elements which I find to be very interesting. Top all that off with well crafted mysteries and strong plots and it hits all the marks I look for in a good cozy mystery series.