A TOXIC TROUSSEAU by Juliet Blackwell
The 8th Witchcraft Mystery
Lily Ivory is surprised when she is served papers and finds herself being sued! Autumn Jennings is claiming that Oscar attacked her in Aunt Cora's Closet and is seeking compensation. But Autumn is no ordinary customer. In fact, not only does she run a high end vintage clothing shop she's also in debt to the witchy godfather of San Fransisco - Aidan Rhodes. When Lily and Maya go to Autumn's store to attempt to work things out-they find her spouting paranoid ideation while holding a gun on them and ultimately collapsing. Despite the prompt arrival of paramedics Autumn dies in the hospital. When doctors and police suspect poison Lily and Bronwyn top their suspect list. Now Lily needs to find out what's really going on. Could it have something to do with Autumn's latest clothing addition? With Sailor and Oscar for support Lily searches for the truth while handling city matters for Aidan and preparing for the Nebulous Big Nasty which is heading their way.
A TOXIC TROUSSEAU is unique in that the mystery takes a more meandering path. In fact, we're not sure what the mystery really is. The mystery of the trousseau, of the curse, of the house, of the death, and who and where is Scarlet; all these questions entwine Lily, along with the mysterious satchel and the job with which Aiden has tasked her. Instead of a simple mystery story it's more of a preparatory book, setting the stage for a huge magical showdown. By the end of the book we have a much clearer view of that Nebulous Big Nasty heading their way, as well as a group of reinforcements coming to town.
Lily and her friends continue to delight. These characters are imbued with such spirit and vitality, it's sometimes difficult to believe they're fictional. Character development has been an integral part of this series, deepening the bonds connecting the characters, both with each other and readers. Lily has grown so much, yet she still manages to keep a sense of innocence, awkwardness, and charm even as she has become a powerful woman. Part of that power has come from her ability to accept help and friendship from others. While a part of her will always be a solitary witch, she can count on the love and friendship of others to support and encourage her, even as she supports and encourages them. And while Sailor remains swoonworthy, it is Oscar who has truly captured my heart!
Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft series continues to be one of my most favorite series. A TOXIC TROUSSEAU is a multifaceted mystery including a local legend involving a curse, a fictional representation of the famous Winchester House, and a fascinating part of fashion history which combine to create a captivating story.