USA Today Bestselling Author
A jolly Faire.
A shocking murder.
Can this furtive fairy outsmart the killer?
Coriander the Conjurer is trapped in a cursed Renaissance Faire, and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her. But this fairy fortune teller veers off course when a corpse turns up in her storage wagon. While her bestie rots in jail for a crime she didn’t commit, the actual murderer walks free…
When a stolen unicorn horn leads her investigation into the protected realm of the Fae, Coriander must make promises that might prove too big to keep. She’ll need the help of a wily vampire, a brilliant blacksmith, and her meddling toad familiar to uncover the real killer. As her helpers disappear one by one, the case spirals out of control.
Can timid Coriander face the terrifying truth, or will her snooping seal a fate worse than death?
We’re back at the Faire for a new trio of books. This first one is about Coriander, she’s a fairy who had been abused by human parents and when she ate the magic candy that trapped her within the realm of Elbion her wings sprouted. Delicate and iridescent they are unfortunately lopsided having been forced by magic. The fairy Queen, Magnolia wanted nothing to do with a family with no lineage and unbalanced wings. She does allow Coriander an allotment of fairy dust, which now has shown up places it doesn’t belong. Coriander’s contribution to the faire is fortunetelling with her trusty toad familiar, Thornton aka Thorny. She also has a thing for the mer prince, Hadal. Her best friend and roommate Fraxi, is a nymph who phase shifts (like teleporting) and she will play an important part in this book.
This Renaissance Faire located in Texas is the largest and in her opinion the best. She even has an old gypsy wagon in which to store her supplies. She’s running just a bit late to set up and that’s when things shift radically. When she opens the wagon a body falls out…and she telepathically calls for Fraxi to help. She’s able to identify the body of Windsor an honored member of the Fairy Court.
Of course, this is the moment their lazy sheriff and his two VLTs (Very Large Trolls) start to stroll by. Instead, he instantly calls for the arrest of Fraxi, who had the unfortunate timing of turning Windsor’s head at that moment to verify his identity. So now she’s being dragged off to prison by the VLTs, with Coriander promising to help her. First, she has to do her morning appointments. Afterwards she goes to see Hadal, but he’s in a deep discussion with the mer elders. It’s Isaac the blacksmith who asks her about the body and accompanies her to the scene of the crime as he details Windsor’s true identity. They need to get the body to the vampire Vern’s dungeon to be autopsied.
As Coriander begins her investigation, she notes that there’s no blood in the wagon, and she spots a piece of unicorn horn stained with blood near the doorframe. Vern would be able to tell if it was the murder weapon. The most troubling thing is that unicorns are a protected species, and no one should have been able to procure a horn. Which technically means someone murdered a unicorn to kill Windsor.
This is a favorite scene.
I must have dozed. When I opened my eyes, darkness had descended. A fairy fingernail of moon hung low in the sky. I’d initially found the term offensive—and then endearing. Thornton slept soundly in his habitat. I’d disappointed him one too many times today. I would handle this meeting with the unicorns on my own. Seemed like every time I relied on other creatures for help, I got myself—or them—into more trouble.
Outside the trailer, the air pressed against my skin—damp and heavy. I longed for a light rain to cool the earth. The heat of the day still lingered beneath a thick layer of fast-moving clouds.
Seemed like perfect flying weather. I took to the skies and headed toward the paddocks.
A few voices echoed up from the tavern as I passed over, but the rest of the grounds were deserted. Most of the Rennies visited the humans’ campground at night and enjoyed the wild abandon of the fully committed guests. I didn’t want to know exactly what happened, but Fraxi had experienced nights away from the trailer, and the shared tidbits of her stories were enough to satisfy my curiosity.
Touching down outside the stables, I quietly entered. Stables always smelled of hay, feed, and, of course, manure. Nevertheless, the stable boys were conscientious and fastidious. They never allowed waste to pile up, and they proudly kept a clean and tidy area. It would never do for one of our illustrious knights to step in a pile of road apples.
Luckily Bartholomew, the horsemaster, had fallen asleep during his night watch. This would be easier than I’d hoped.
Despite my fairy gifts, I made it no more than a step before the sharp tip of a unicorn horn pressed against my chest.
“There shall be no business after dark. If thou value your life, back up.”
“Nefertiti, it’s me. It’s Coriander of the Fae. I’m not here to harm anyone. I’m here to help.”
The grand mare stepped back, and the sadness in her eyes nearly broke my heart. “Coriander! Thou art the only creature who hath offered aid. Ne’er-do-wells murdered my grandson, Amenhotep. Taken before his time. His beautiful horn spirited away! Forsooth, I hear ’twas used in a murder most foul.”
I dropped to one knee and bowed to the magnificent creature. “I’m sorry for your loss. And I’m furious that something so heinous happened within the realm of Elbion. I thought no one knew you were hiding here?”
She tossed her long white mane and pawed at the ground. “Hundreds of years have passed within this cursed Faire. There are no more secrets, sweet fairy. We may hide from yon casual observers or the simple humans, but rumors took the form of reality a century past.”
I wanted to tell her I knew who had taken the life of her precious grandstallion, but I’d already started one potential war today. No need to start another. “I intend to solve both murders, Your Magnificence.”
“Thou art a trusted friend and ally of the unicorns. How can we assist thee?”
“Thank you. I’m trying to find out who purchased—I’m so sorry to say it—the unicorn horn on the black market.”
Her majestic head fell forward, and the tip of her unicorn horn nearly touched my head where I knelt. “Arise, sweet fairy. I slept not at the stables on the night in question. On that night, Queen Magnolia did invite me unto her feast. At the moment the dear stallion was taken, I foolishly enjoyed the food of the Fae. I shall never forgive myself. If I had but been here, perhaps my wisdom and power might have saved him.”
As I slowly rose to my feet, I offered the only condolences I could. “You can’t blame yourself. Nothing can stop a wicked deed, done by wicked creatures. Neither you nor your grandson are at fault.” I had to get this interview back on track. “Were you acquainted with Windsor?”
She shook her head angrily. “Not in the least. Nor would I have been so inclined. He and his fairy mistress often sullied our stables with their secret trysts.”
“He brought Dandelion here?”
The beautiful unicorn stepped back, and her velvety lips hung open in shock. “Dandelion? I know no such fairy by that name. That man always brought a pompous noble. Mine eyes beheld her at the fairy feasts, but the name escapes my recollection.”
The grand mare pawed at the ground. “Indeed. Hyacinth. Too good for her own skin, if you asketh me. Now, who might this Dandelion be?”
“Apparently, Windsor also married a fairy from the wrong side of the creek.”
The powerful creature blinked her large silver-blue eyes in my direction. “Oh. Troublesome. Perhaps the lowborn fairy hath taken revenge. She would certainly know the type of scoundrels who could obtain—”
I reached my hand out to offer comfort, but couldn’t remember the protocol for petting a unicorn.
She nuzzled my hand with her nose, and I stroked it gently. “You don’t have to say it. We all know what happened. I hadn’t thought of that angle. I have someone inside the fairy realm right now. I’ll look into it. Again, my deepest sympathy for your loss. I will find whoever is responsible for this travesty.”
A large glistening tear rolled down her nose and touched my fingers. The strangest sensation passed over me. For a moment, I saw her grandson, with his glorious unicorn horn, galloping through a flower-filled meadow.
“What a magnificent stallion.”
She pulled back and gazed at my tear-stained fingers. “Ah, I accidentally shared a memory tear. There be a great deal more to unicorns than mere horns and magic blood.”
I bowed deeply. “Indeed. I will keep you informed, Your Magnificence.”
She bent a knee and bowed in return. “Thank thee, sweet fairy.”
My heart weighed heavy with sadness as I left the stables. The memory the grand mare had shared in her tear played over and over in my mind. The pain of losing such a magnificent magical creature proved more than I could bear. I didn’t have the strength for flight.
Silvertale, Trixie. Fairy Wives of Windsor: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 4) Kindle Locations (998-1047). The Faire Ladies LLC. Kindle Edition.
Now Vern confirms the unicorn horn as the murder weapon and also that there is fairy dust in the wound.
Fraxi, now hiding in the fairy realm, finds the deceased had more than one wife, two for sure and the speculation of yet another.
To say things are getting a bit twisted is an understatement. We find some very interesting people are involved in this case. I truly couldn’t guess until we got close to the end. There was also one very major revelation in this book.
I can’t wait to read the next book.
5 Contented Purrs for Trixie!
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USA TODAY Bestselling author Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lilian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.
When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.