Today, magic is in the air as I review Annette Blair’s Vintage Magic series.
I chose these mysteries for several different reasons. One, the cover artwork is just gorgeous! Two, I was interested in the vintage clothing theme, and three, several of the cozy mystery authors I talk to on Facebook had Annette as a friend.
So, here we go…
A Veiled Deception: A Vintage Magic Mystery
Madeira, “Maddie” Cutler, a New York fashion designer and vintage clothing lover has been summoned home to Mystic, Connecticut help plan a family wedding. She arrives at the engagement party to find chaos. A “former girlfriend” of her sister Sherry’s fiancé is found strangled with an antique bridal veil, making Sherry the prime suspect.
Maddie, being the mother hen she is, springs into action to protect her sister, and find out who really killed the “Jezebel” who had been trying to pose as the “real” bride. As she handles the gift Sherry’s future mother-in-law intended to give her, a vintage wedding gown worn by generations of the Vancourtland family, and something odd happens. The gown gives Maddie visions, clues to the family’s past and maybe a clue to who committed the murder.
Maddie soon learns from her Aunt Fiona that she’s psychometric, a psychic gift she inherited from her late mother, who, along with her aunt, was a practicing witch. The vintage clothes that Maddie adores can give her messages as to their past, which sometimes can come in mighty handy in the present!
Maddie also juggles keeping her on again/off again boyfriend, FBI Agent Nick Jaconetti and her childhood nemesis Police Chief Lytton “Little Wiener” Werner from discovering that she is doing a little investigating work herself. When she discovers the murder suspect is someone who has been completely under the radar for everyone, it turns into a race to save yet another Vancourtland bride from danger.
In almost a side story, while she’s not trying to clear her sister’s name, Maddie is looking into acquiring the old Underhill Funeral Chapel Carriage House. A historical building that just happens to be home to Dante Underhill, a chatty, handsome ghost in tux and top hat, who can’t seem to leave the building. Dante encourages Maddie to follow her dream to open a vintage clothing store in his former dwelling, a move that will make Maddie, her family, and her new ghost friend very happy.
“A Veiled Deception” is a great introduction to Maddie Cutler and her wacky family and friends. This story takes off at a rapid clip from the beginning, and readers have to buckle up and hold on for a fast-paced story that will draw them into its magic.
Lace and Larceny: A Vintage Magic Mystery
In book two of Blair’s Vintage Magic series, our heroine Maddie is moving home to open her new store, “Vintage Magic.”
With all the stress of renovating the old Underhill Funeral Chapel, and stocking her new vintage clothing store, Maddie Cutler is exhausted. But she’s determined to find the secret room that former owner Dolly Sweet has told her about. However, a surprise awaits her as while investigating a break-in at her new store, Maddie and her best friend Eve discover a quilt-wrapped collection of human bones in an old body drawer. And the bones are as vintage as Maddie's stock, or so says resident ghost, Dante Underhill.
Maddie wonders if the break-in at her store could have something to do with the argument she had witnessed earlier between the local playhouse owner and a mysterious stranger. And when the theatre is later burned, and the cranky old owner Broderick Sampson is found dead, Maddie wonders if her intruder and the stranger could be one in the same. Soon Maddie finds herself juggling getting her store ready to open in time for Halloween and crime solving. Add to the brew the local witch's costume ball, being held at her store, and Maddie will be wishing she knew how to ride a broom right out of there.
Again, “Lace and Larceny” is another fast-paced novel that keeps the reader entertained from the word go! Blair’s characters are warm and endearing, and you feel as if you’re visiting old friends among the pages. I love the side love story between old Mrs. Sweet and her ghostly boyfriend, Dante. And I love that Blair includes Maddie’s familiar, a cute little cat named Chakra, in the story. I look forward to more stories of the Cutler family and Mystic, Connecticut from this wonderful author.
About the Author:
Annette Blair took a reluctant trip to Salem Massachusetts and stumbled into the serendipitous role of accidental witch writer when she least expected it. Magic or destiny, Blair’s contemporary romantic comedies became her first bestsellers.
After the “Accidental Witch Trilogy,” she wrote the “Triplet Witches” series, that features psychic triplets with attitude. Now Blair is taking one a new series with her “Vintage Magic Mystery” books. A Sequel to “A Veiled Deception” and “Larceny and Lace,” “Death By Diamonds” will follow in April 2010.
For more information on all of Annette Blair’s books, her writing, and the great vintage handbags she features in her “Vintage Magic” series, check out her website at http://www.annetteblair.com/
Don't forget to leave a comment! I'll have a drawing for a Cozy Mystery Basket of goodies on September 11th, and the winner will be drawn from the comments!