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Tarnished and Torn
Witchcraft Mystery #5
Juliet Blackwell

July 2013/ 978-0-451-24009-5

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

I love when I learn something from a book right at the outset. "Tarnished and Torn" begins with protagonist Lily Ivory learning the Cow Palace in San Francisco stands for California, Oregon, and Washington, rather than being a palace for actual cows. Of course, with a mystery series with a healthy dose of the paranormal and unusual, a cow palace wouldn't have surprised me. I attended a concert at the Cow Palace many moons ago, and now finally I understand the acronym.

This is the fifth book in Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft Mystery series, and I enjoyed as much as the first four. Lily and her friends Bronwyn and Maya are attending a Gem Faire at the palace, with Lily hoping for treasures to sell at her vintage clothing shop. It's not long before she senses magic in the air, and comes to wonder if Griselda, a merchant at the faire could be another witch. Griselda is soon murdered and Lily and the manner of her death- pressing between two boards- is tied to the way witches were punished in the past.

To make matters worse, Lily's father, from whom she is long estranged, is considered the prime suspect. Lily is bound and determined to find the truth about Griselda's death.

San Francisco, and Lily's shop, Aunt Cora's Closet are a delight to visit in this well written mystery. Juliet Blackwell weaves a magical spell with her words and storylines. As always, I can't wait for the next book in the series, but will console myself with Blackwell's Haunted Home Renovation Mysteries to tide me over.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Hexes and Hemlines #3
In a Witch's Wardrobe #4
Tarnished and Torn #5
Vision in Velvet #6
Spellcasting in Silk #7
A Toxic Trousseau #8
A Magical Match #9

Reviewed 2013