Witchcraft Mystery #11
By Juliet Blackwell
Author’s website: julietblackwell.net
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
As witch and vintage store owner Lily Ivory steps into her new role as leader of the Bay Area’s magical community, she’s faced with a mysterious death of magical proportions…
Strange things are happening in Lily Ivory’s San Francisco. First, she finds a vintage mermaid costume which dates from the 1939 San Francisco’s Treasure Island World’s Fair – and which gives off distinctly peculiar vibrations. Next, she stumbles upon a dead man in the office of her predecessor, and as the community’s new leader, she feels compelled to track down the culprit. Just when Lily thinks things can’t get any stranger, a man appears claiming to be her half-brother, spouting ideas about the mystical prophecy involving San Francisco and their family…
When the dead man is linked to the mysterious mermaid costume, and then yet another victim is found on Treasure Island, Lily uncovers ties between the long-ago World’s fair and the current murders, and begins to wonder whether the killer might be hiding in plain sight. But unless Lily can figure everything out in time, there may be yet another body floating in San Francisco Bay. (Goodreads)
Vintage clothing store owner and witch Lily has a lot on her plate. Just home from her honeymoon, she, hubby Sailor, and her familiar Oscar are finding Lily’s apartment a little too close for comfort. Plus, she needs to get into her new role as leader of the local magical community, and it is in this capacity that she discovers the body of a Treasure Island resident in the former leader Aiden’s office. And, it appears that she has a half-brother newly arrived in town. While researching the history a recently acquired mermaid costume, she finds possible connections to Treasure Island. As the body count rises, and paranormal implications come to light, Lily does all she can to ferret out the truth.
I have enjoyed this series a great deal in the past, but this eleventh Witchcraft mystery is not my favorite installment. Perhaps, it is me and the state of world that gets in my way of enjoyment this time around. I am currently hyperaware (and probably more than a little hypersensitive) of current hot button topics, and reading, often offhanded, comments about whishing there was a gender neutral honorific for husband and wife (because spouse is too awkward?) and small-minded people totally took me out of the story.
If memory serves correct, the magical elements of this series have increased in importance and focus with each book to a point that here in Synchronized Sorcery the murder mystery feels neglected. I never connected with the victim(s) or felt compelled to find justice for them. The killer’s character is only partially developed, and I really want to know the why of their thinking and opinions. I guessed the killer’s identity partway through the story, but their reveal still felt jarring.
To me, the characters save Synchronized Sorcery. I feel like I know these long running characters and enjoy their company. Lily is likable and relatably flawed. Oscar and Lily’s grandmother and coven provide a lot of comic relief. The supporting cast at the vintage clothing shop is great…the characters on Treasure Island not so much. Blackwell’s fans will be tickled to see a character from her Hunted Home Renovation Mystery Series cross over into Lily’s world.
Synchronized Sorcery just did not do it for me, but I think other readers of this series and fans of paranormal cozy mysteries (very heavy on the witchcraft) may enjoy this much more than I did.