So, two thirds of the way through midterms and I feel like I could sleep for the next week and a half. Terrifyingly enough I have plans for Halloween weekend that involve other human beings, this can’t go well. Rambling aside, I’ve been meaning to get this review written for a while now and needed a break from the other one I’m writing.
Lily Ivory is pulled away from her vintage clothing store, Aunt Cora’s Closet, to give the police a witch’s take on a strange crime scene. Rationalist Malachi Zazi has been found stabbed to death in his apartment surrounded by symbols of the very bad luck he was trying to disprove. When a suspect from his own Serpentarian Society is identified by the police Lily is shocked to find that it’s someone she knows. As bad luck strikes all of the Serpentarian Society members, Lily begins to wonder if it’s coincidence or if something darker is in play.
Juliet Blackwell’s Hexes and Hemlines is one of those light mysteries that are perfect for a summer beach read or a slow weekend. The murder plot gets a bit lost in Lily worrying about her shop and her employees as well as descriptions of various vintage clothes that were lost on me. There were also a few nitpicky little things, like the author taking a full paragraph to describe one of the love interest guys’ eyes both times it comes up. Aside from that the writing is fairly tight and it makes for a fast read.
There were nitpicky things though such as the bit where Lily mentioned having a thing with snakes. This kept coming up and kept coming up but didn’t resolve until late in the story with a flow shattering expository passage. The descriptions for Max’s eyes didn’t sit right with the rest of the story. The first time could have been passed off as Lily being caught off guard at seeing him again, but the second time just felt out of place. It seems a bit funny, but Hexes and Hemlines could have also safely dropped a good deal of the talk about magic. It got to a point where it almost felt like Blackwell thought her audience would forget that Lily’s a witch if they weren’t reminded every few pages. The repetition took something away from it for me, so it wound up feeling like a clue by four hanging over every problem.
All said Hexes and Hemlines is a decent weekend mystery. It’s not terribly memorable but it’s also a fun, quick read. I doubt that I would read another book in this series, but I would give a non-magic mystery series by Blackwell a try. I’m giving this one a three out of five for being entertaining if somewhat forgettable.