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Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery by M. Louisa Locke.

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When I first read the blurb for this, I was so excited. A widowed clairvoyant works with a hunky lawyer to investigate the mysterious death of a client against the backdrop of Victorian San Francisco! Supernatural romantic murder mystery sounds like the best combination EVER.

Unfortunately, I felt the blurb misled by promoting factors that turned out to have little to do with the overall story. For one thing, the heroine, Annie, isn't a true clairvoyant, but instead uses palm readings as a front for giving business advice. So there is no supernatural angle. For another, the romantic subplot is never given much focus, and sparks don't fly so much as fizzle. Those were both big disappointments for me, and together with the slow, drawn-out nature of the plot, I didn't enjoy it very much. But if you like historical murder mysteries with a hefty dash of feminism, Mercedes Lackey-style, Maids of Misfortune might interest you.

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A. J. Navarre

October 2016

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