Member of The Paranormal Guild Review Team
I am a Lanyon fan, no doubt about it. This new novel, the first of a series, is quite a departure from her usual style. For me, also a paranormal fan, it is a welcome expansion of the Lanyon oeuvre.
Cosmo Saville is a witch, but he’s trying, not very successfully, to get over it. He also finds himself, at 29, engaged to the first gay police commissioner in San Francisco history, 45-year-old John Joseph Galbraith.
Then he finds himself a suspect in the murder of a competing antique dealer, just two days before his wedding day. Problem is, Cosmo can’t really tell the police the truth about what he was at the murdered man’s shop for, since keeping their magic secret is one of the few things on which all witches agree.
Cosmo’s mother Estelle, the redoubtable Duchesse d’Abracadantès, is not pleased about any of this. First, as heir to Witches’ Throne, having a son who’s trying to give up magic looks very bad. Secondly, his fiancé not only is not a witch, but is both a policeman and a Catholic, a disastrous combination if ever there was one.
Commissioner Galbraith is none too pleased either, since his already eccentric lover is acting more squirrelly than usual, and the pressure is on him to close the case on Seamus Reitherman’s killing.
Lanyon gives this entire book the same kind of dryly comic tone we see in her other novels, but the pleasure she takes in creating this hidden world of witchcraft and magical society is palpable. Cosmo is an instantly appealing character, inherently honest and kindhearted, but caught between his love for John and his loyalty to his magical kindred. As he bobs and weaves his way through the unwelcome surprises of his wedding weekend, we root for him to find his way to the happy ending he’s not sure he deserves.
I applaud the lack of a cliffhanger here, but will note that there are lots of loose ends left for us to puzzle over. This story is far from over. Book 2 in the series appears on Hallowe’en, and I have it pre-ordered already.