In a Witch’s Wardrobe, by Juliet Blackwell, is a cozy mystery set in San Francisco, told from the first-person perspective of Lilly Ivory, a witch and owner of a vintage clothing store. This time out, she’s helping a young woman under a sleeping curse.
We start out at a costume ball, where everyone is dressed up like from the 1920s. Lilly has gone with Aiden, the witch “Godfather” of the Bay Area, but when she runs into a young woman, Lilly gets a vision of the woman reaching out to her but covered in vines. Aiden tells her to leave it alone. Later, that same young woman falls into a coma in the ladies’ bathroom, and Lilly sees her spirit trapped in a bathroom mirror. Again Aiden tells Lilly to leave it alone. But Lilly is never one to shrink when she can help, and soon Lilly finds out that another young woman has died from this same curse.
2—Investigating Witch Hunters and Fellow Witches
Eventually, Aiden tells Lilly to investigate—that for reasons of politics, he can no longer investigate himself. Lilly has tried very hard to stay out of witchy politics, but nevertheless finds herself investigating a local coven to whom both victims belonged. This leads her to Calypso, a former witch who now teaches classes in botanicals.
There’s also an anti-magic group running about vandalizing stores and leaving threatening messages.
3—A New Romance
Lilly of course turns to Sailor, the grumpy psychic, to try to communicate with the trapped spirit in the mirror. After initially refusing to help—probably because Aiden ordered him not to—Sailor does agree to help Lilly. After they get arrested for breaking and entering, Lilly confronts Sailor and they end up having sex. Sailor does seem genuinely to like Lilly, despite his earlier assertions that he doesn’t, and Sailor is supportive of Lilly and her magick (yes, spelled with a ‘k’). This is better than her previous romance with Max, the skeptic who thought she was crazy, and I’m glad to see one of my least favorite tropes avoided, the One True Love . Seriously, if you and a person are fundamentally incompatible, no matter how magickal the sex is, try a new relationship.
In a Witch’s Wardrobe was a fun entry into the A Witchcraft Mystery series, and I look forward to the next book.