A Cast-Off Coven, by Juliet Blackwell, is the second in the Witchcraft Mystery series (I’ve read but not reviewed the first in the series, Secondhand Spirits—I liked it). It’s a cozy mystery set in San Francisco starring Lilly Ivory, witch and vintage-clothing store owner.
1—Murder in the Bell Tower
Lilly is called in to kick the ghost out of the school’s haunted bell tower—at least that’s her job until finding rich scumbag and patron of the art school Jerry Becker dead at the base of said bell tower. Now in addition to the ghost, Lilly has to deal with a murder. And then she finds out there’s a demon in the third-floor closet.
There’s a lot of moving parts to this plot but the author handles them deftly.
And yes, the author spells it with a “k”, that’s not a typo. There’s lots of detail about the instruments and herbs Lilly uses without bogging the story down writing out actual spells. It lends a sense of groundedness to descriptions that might otherwise be very internal and hard to visualize. You really get a sense of Lilly’s world.
Speaking of Lilly’s world, there’s also good descriptions of what’s involved in her vintage clothing business, and of San Francisco. The author really seems to have done her homework on the foggy city.
3—Lilly’s Love Life
Max, a self-proclaimed myth buster, is an investigative journalist and sceptic. This is problematic for Lilly since Max doesn’t believe in her magick and thinks it’s crazy. Max also has a dark past he isn’t ready to share with Lilly yet, involving the death of his wife years ago. Of course, Lilly ends up finding some stuff about that out anyway, primarily due to a psychic she’s working with named Sailor.
A Cast-Off Coven was a fun read and a good mystery.