Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus

Title: Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus (A Lily Singer Adventures Novella: A Study in Mischief)

Publisher/Author: Lydia Sherrer

Pages: 68pp

Price: free

Lily Singer is a librarian. She is also a wizard who is owned by an “awakened” cat named Sir Edgar Allan Kipling. Sebastian Blackwell is a witch, a problem solver, and a bit of a slob. Wizards and witches do not get along. They never have (for reasons which will become obvious), but Lily and Sebastian find themselves working together when a collection of magical books is stolen. Who stole the books, and why? And how far will Lily and Sebastian have to go to retrieve them?

I am always on the look-out for new paranormal cozy mysteries to read, so I was hopeful when I can across Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus. I’m a sucker for witch-with-cat stories, so I decided to take a chance on this one.

Overall, it was delightful. This is just the sort of no sex, no swearing, minimal violence paranormal mystery that can be enjoyed on a lazy summer afternoon; or handed off to a pre-teen to keep them occupied during a long drive.

Lily is neat, orderly, deeply ethical, and empathetic. She loves her job as a librarian, and she loves being a wizard. In the world of Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus, one must be born a wizard. Lily ignored her magic for years, and is now making up for lost time, learning everything she can — and using it to make the world just a little bit better.

Sebastian, on the other hand, is a witch. Unlike wizards, witches are made: they gain power by acquiring magical charms, or by making deals with magical beings. Most witches choose the quick and dirty route, and make a deal with a demon; hence, the rotten reputation of witches. Sebastian was smart about it, though, and made a deal with the more benevolent fae; he just has to perform the odd job for them in return. Like Lily, he wants to use his magic to make the world a little bit more just and fair, which he does through his work as a private investigator.

Then there is Sir Kipling. Cats have their own kind of magic and, while human magic has its uses, more often than not, the cats have to save the day. According to the cats, anyway. While Sir Kipling is the protagonist in the novella Cat Magic, here he is the audience, enjoying the tale of how Lily and Sebastian first met, and offering his own snarky commentary.

Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus is a gentle and not-overly-sweet series with appealing protagonists, and a cat. Recommended to fans of The Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles by Rebecca Chastain, The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss, The Dark Yule by R.M. Callahan, the Wiccan Wheel Mystery series by Jennifer David Hesse, and the Harwood Spellbook series by Stephanie Burgis.

[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. A complete list of her published poems, stories, and anthologies can be found there.]