A Toxic Trousseau
A Witchcraft Mystery #8
By Juliet Blackwell
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Even the most skilled sorceress can’t ward off a lawsuit, and Lily is not at her enchanting best with her hands full as the temporary leader of San Francisco’s magical community. So after her potbellied pig Oscar head-butts rival clothier Autumn Jennings, Lily tries to make peace without a costly personal injury case.
But any hope of a quiet resolution is shattered when Autumn turns up dead. As one of the prime suspects, Lily searches for a way to clear her name and discovers a cursed trousseau among Autumn’s recently acquired inventory. Lily must deal with a mysterious dog walker and spend the night in a haunted house as she delves into the trunk’s treacherous past. She’s got to figure out who wanted to harm Autumn fast, before the curse claims another victim…(Goodreads.com)
Lily Ivory and company cast their spell on readers once again in this enjoyable eighth entry in the Witchcraft Mystery series.
Vintage clothing store proprietor Lily Ivory is surprised to find herself being sued by a rival period clothier Autumn Jennings. She claims to have been injured by Lily’s pot bellied pig familiar Oscar when he head-butted her one day in the shop. Lily has not even met the woman so she and her shop assistant Maya go by Autumn’s store to discuss the matter in person, only to find Autumn very agitated and obviously ill. Despite quick action on the medics’ part, Autumn dies at the hospital. When it comes to light that she was most likely poisoned, Lily becomes a prime suspect, and her police detective friend is not in charge of the case to help her out. Along with her boyfriend Sailor, Lily sets out to find out who is responsible for Autumn’s death and if she was the victim of a hereditary curse. In addition to the mystery at hand, Aiden, San Francisco’s witchy godfather, leaves Lily in charge of the magical community while he is away. However, he does not give her any instructions or guidelines about what to do.
I really enjoy the Witchcraft Mystery series, and A Toxic Trousseau is great fun. Lily has grown a lot over the course of the series from an awkward, distrustful young woman to a much more confident, powerful witch. She is gradually relying more on her friends and trusting those around her more. She is surrounded by an interesting variety of characters that keep the story fresh. Her good hearted friend Bronwyn and her coven, her cynical assistant Maya, her smoldering, psychic love interest Sailor, and mysterious Aiden all add to the enjoyment of the story. My favorite character, though, is goblin/gargoyle/pot bellied pig familiar Oscar. His insatiable appetite, attitude, and boundless loyalty make him a fabulous addition to the books, and he often adds a little extra levity to the proceedings.
The mystery in A Toxic Trousseau is pretty convoluted, making it somewhat complex. At times, I feel like it gets a little bogged down in itself. However, the way that everything fits together by the end more than makes up for any slow bits. A poisoning that may or may not be the manifestation of a hereditary family curse, a trunk of a long deceased young woman’s trousseau that harbors unsavory magic, a potentially haunted house, a dog walker, and a long standing need for revenge are all wonderful elements of the mystery surrounding Autumn’s death. I do wish that we could have gotten to know Autumn better before her death. Even with after-the-fact information, I never really connected with her and it was hard to feel bad about her death. I did not figure out whodunit until almost the end of the book (which is a good thing), and this also added to my enjoyment of the story.
The San Francisco setting is ideal for the magical community. There is just enough of the “real” world included to keep it believable. The series long subplot involving a coming battle of good and evil really starts to take shape within these pages, and I am curious to see if this is the focus of the next book. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out. With changes in Sailor and Lily’s relationship and a gathering of witches looming, I think big things are in store for Lily and her friends.
I recommend A Toxic Trousseau to fans of paranormal cozy series.