Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk“ to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! I’ve gathered up some old reads and reviews from Goodreads to share with you–but a good book never gets old. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).
This week I am highlighting M. Louisa Locke, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Maids of Misfortune (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery). She has actually written five in the series with novellas in between. This novel was published by CreateSpace on December 3, 2009. She consistently runs approximately 4.0/5 stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.
Originally posted January 20, 2015
It’s the summer of 1879, and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, is in trouble. Annie’s husband squandered her fortune before committing suicide five years earlier…Annie Fuller also has a secret. She supplements her income by giving domestic and business advice as Madam Sibyl, one of San Francisco’s most exclusive clairvoyants, and one of Madam Sibyl’s clients, Matthew Voss, has died…Nate Dawson has a problem. As the Voss family lawyer, he would love to believe that Matthew Voss didn’t leave his grieving family destitute. But that would mean working with Annie Fuller, a woman who alternatively attracts and infuriates him as she shatters every notion he ever had of proper ladylike behavior…Sparks fly as Anne and Nate pursue the truth about the murder of Matthew Voss in this light-hearted, cozy historical mystery set in the foggy gas-lit world of Victorian San Francisco.
Widow Annie Fuller is rescued from living with the family of her recently deceased husband by the inheritance of an old Victorian house in 1879 San Francisco. She manages to convert the house into a boarding home but the income from her tenants fall short of real solvency. Annie supplements the shortfall by operating out of her parlor as “Sybil”, the clairvoyant. Her apparently well-to-do clientele seeks the advice which she has wisely gleaned from astutely reading the financial pages of the local paper and childhood experience with educated relatives.
When one of her favorite clients suddenly turns up dead apparently by his own hand, she takes it upon herself to prove otherwise, knowing his financial affairs were solid. The police seem willing to accept a suicide ruling but Matthew Voss had hinted to Annie his forthcoming exciting plans. In an effort to infiltrate the family to secure more information and prove his death a murder, Annie accepts a position as a servant to replace the maid who quietly disappears following Matthew’s death.
Voss’s attorney, Nathaniel Dawson along with his more experienced uncle, provides separate legal investigation while Nate quickly discovers the new maid “Lizzie” is Matthew’s pseudo-financial consultant, Sybil. Nate, who could easily become a romantic interest, and Annie as Lizzi have several heated discussions about her precarious position, but it’s obvious they’ll continue contact, sparks flying, as they pursue their separate leads.
Annie alternately presents herself as a strong-willed, independent woman, and a clueless, perhaps inexperienced maid, while she continues to glean insight into the characters of the Voss household. It doesn’t take long before she has a new appreciation for life on the other side of the apron and sees the bigoted side of genteel San Francisco society.
Of course, Annie has her own financial drama playing out in the background with the possible loss of her home, her own attendants, tenants and way of life, so helping to solve the whereabouts of Voss’s missing assets would also help to solve her own crisis.
I downloaded this book as a BookBub free offering and enjoyed; especially as I have a fascination with Victorian San Francisco, (owing to my grandfather author Stanley McShane). However, the book is not so much about San Francisco as it is a character-driven plot in the nineteenth century. I do enjoy the references to sensibilities of the late 1800’s, the dress code, the stilted and somewhat forced politeness, the descriptions of the city and the proper mannerisms in that time period. Ms. Locke will need an additional editor. While engaging, don’t expect a historical thriller. Recommended as a fast, easy historical read.
About the Author: (From Amazon Author page)
After being a professor of history for over 30 years, [M. Louisa Locke] I am now retired and writing full time. The books in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series are based in part on my dissertation research on women who worked in the Far West at the end of the Nineteenth Century, and they feature Annie Fuller, a young widow who gives domestic and business advice as the clairvoyant, Madam Sibyl. She is aided in her investigations into crime by Nate Dawson, a local lawyer, and the residents in the boarding house she owns.
Maids of Misfortune, the first in the series, finds Annie investigating a murder by going undercover as a domestics servant. In Uneasy Spirits, she is asked to investigate a fraudulent trance medium, and in Bloody Lessons, she is asked to find out who is attacking local public school teachers. The fourth book, Deadly Proof is set in the printing industry in San Francisco, and in the fifth book, Pilfered Promises, Annie and Nate investigate theft and murder in a modern department store.
A novella, Violet Vanquishes a Villain, that comes right before Pilfered Promises, take Annie and Nate to San Jose to solve a family problem and this novella and my collection of short stories about minor characters, Victorian San Francisco Stories, are free to anyone who signs up to my newsletter. (see my website for sign up at http://mlouisalocke.com
Not content with just writing about the past, under the pen name Louisa Locke, I have now turned to the future with a new science fiction series set in the collaborative world of the Paradisi Chronicles.
As an indie author, I absolutely depend on the readers who have read and liked my cozy historical mysteries and spread the word. This second career has turned out to be more fun and rewarding than I ever thought possible. So thanks to all of you!
More Throwback Thursday Blogs
Renee at Its Book Talk
Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe
Rebecca at The Book Whisperer
Lynne at Fictionophile
Sam at Clues and Reviews
Holly B at Dressedtoread
Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews
Amanda at Literary Weaponry
Annie at The Misstery
Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll
Laurie at Cozy Nook Books
Ann Marie at LItWitWineDine
©2018 V Williams