Genre: psychic cozy mystery
New York Times Bestselling author Annette Blair's "fast-paced, fascinating" (Fresh Fiction) Vintage Magic series continues as clothing boutique owner Madeira Cutler takes on a murder from the past that won't stay dead...
Maddie's love of classic fashion has made her Vintage Magic boutique a success--even if the visions she experiences when touching certain items often lead her into trouble. Decades ago, at a Mystic Country Club costume ball, a secret scavenger hunt ended in an unexplained death, hastily concealed.
Now, Maddie's invited to participate in a similar anniversary event: but one touch of the vintage petticoat used to hide evidence of the original crime hurtles Maddie into a scavenger hunt of her own. She must find missing petticoat pieces and re-stitch the clues it reveals...to expose a killer!
As I did not really like the fifth book in the series, I was a bit hesitant about starting this one. But I need not have worried, as I really enjoyed this story.
Now her father and “aunt” Fee are openly in love, and planning to live together in Fee’s house, and her brother Alex has bought their home from their father, Maddie needs another place to live, in order to give the other couples some privacy. And so she decided to put another story on her shop, Vintage Magic, where she sells vintage clothing and accessories.
The ancient building started out as a carriage house, has housed an undertaker business, and is now completely renovated after decades of neglect. Maddie really loves her shop, and with this new floor, she will be living in one of the three new condo’s and rent out the other two.
But construction stalls, when the foreman finds some hidden treasure. When he hands the fabric draped chest to Madeira, a piece of it touches her forearm, and she sinks in a vision. And it is not a happy one, some young rich spoiled people went on a scavenger hunt, and now a woman is missing as she went overboard in the storm. They don’t seem to care about that at all, they just want to keep it hushed up. And Maddie thinks she should now some of those people, especially the woman who is wearing such a gorgeous dress. But she callously tears up the matching petticoat, so she and the others can wrap their scavenged treasures. Madeira is determined to find out more, did the woman drown, or did she escape after all? She was on Vassar’s swim team according to the others.
As her ex-boyfriend FBI-agent Nick is not only out of town, but out of the country, she has no choice but to ask her friend and local police detective Lytton Werner for his help in solving the case. He doesn’t know she is psychic, only that she is good in sleuthing, and that their kisses are explosive. They have known each other since kindergarten, but were not always good friends. Lytton wants more than friendship with Maddie, but she has been in a long term on-off relationship with Nick for years. Maddie’s best fried Eve really dislikes Nick for leaving Maddie behind without any notice, and she seems to like Werner a lot better. Especially as he saves them both from their sleuthing scrapes a few times.
Maddie has not yet opened the box the foreman gave her, she wants to do that with a witness present, and Werner is the one. Inside they find a lot of old money, and some priceless objects. And the list of scavenges the conspirators talked about, and it sure is not all harmless! Werner finds out that Robin, the woman who jumped overboard in a storm, never surfaced. Her brother and his wife had her declared legally dead exactly seven years after the “incident”, and inherited her half of the estate left by their very rich grandparents. Surely that does sound like motive.
Maddie is also very busy with the Valentines Ball at the country club, thanks to her father and aunt Fee asking her to judge the vintage costume contest. They are doing a segment of “this is your life”, and Maddie is needed to fit the clothes that were once worn at the Golden Anniversary of the country club to their current owners. As this is the best opportunity to come into contact with those members who participated in the scavenger hunt all those years ago, she agrees.
With the help of Dante, her inherited ghost, her best friend Eve and Werner, Maddie sets out to unravel the mystery and to see justice done…
A great new book in this fun cozy mystery series. I do have a weakness for the psychic ones as you might have noticed if you have been following my blog for a while. Maddie is a great character, and I was very happy that she finally let go of Nick, and moved on with her life. The fact that he left the country, and selling his house in town without telling her, should tell her enough of her importance to him. More a convenience I think. And so she finally feels free to explore her lingering feelings for Werner. After the few explosive kisses they shared in the past (while her relationship with Nick was on the off-fase!), it was about time.
I loved how Werner always loved seeing her in the vintage outfits Maddie loves to wear, and how she drives him crazy. The description of those clothes often goes above my head, as I really am not a fashionista, but it is still very interesting. I wish this book came with pictures!
As always, I love the interaction between Maddie and her best friend Eve, who have been best friends since kindergarten, although they did not start out that way. Eve is brilliant, and loves to dress gothic, with Maddie taking care of the necessary fashion details to make her stand out even more. Maddie loves men, and goes through boyfriends like candy. But in the end of this book, well, perhaps …
Maddie’s father and her aunt Fiona, her late mother’s best friend, are finally openly happy together, and it was good to read about them as well.
And then there is our cover model, Chakra, Maddie’s kitten. She sure loves all the tulle in Maddie’s shop and workspace. Dottie also plays a small role, she is 106 years old and still loves to make out with Dante, who used to be her “secret” lover back in the day. She can also see him, and more ;). But the end, well, that does deserve a tear and a smile, and already I cannot wait for the next book.
Annette Blair writes with humor and passion, her characters are so very lifelike, I wish I could visit Vintage Magic and meet all of them, even the town’s gossiping butcher. There is never a dull moment in the life of Maddie Cutler, she has a great relationship with her family and friends, and it is just sweet to read about.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian