Maids of Misfortune
In this light-hearted historical mystery, Annie Fuller is a San Francisco widow who works as Madam Sibyl, a clairvoyant. In 1879, a creditor threatens to take away her home, and one of Madam Sibyl’s clients, Mr. Voss, dies suddenly. Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson, the Voss family lawyer, try to find out the truth about Voss’s death in order to save his family and Annie from financial ruin.
(Word count 111,460; e-book $2.99 USD, print $12.75 USD)
Reviews of Maids of Misfortune
“This historical mystery set in the foggy gas-lit world of Victorian San Francisco is a complete package of a modified locked room puzzle, more than one murder, daring undercover snooping, romantic tension and a few twists and turns for a powerhouse of a debut novel.
“When I finished this book I immediately missed Annie and the other characters, showing just how well they had been brought to life and, dare I say…memorable. The mystery was well plotted so I went down the wrong path along with the police at first. The setting of Victorian San Francisco and period details are rich and layered, easily woven in the overall story from the attitudes towards Chinese and class divisions to the strict propriety rules restricting women. The journey back in time seemed so complete I felt jarred if pulled back into the modern world when my reading was interrupted.
“The climax and revealing of the murderer was tense and an edge-of-your-seat ordeal where Annie is in very real danger. The ending was satisfying and I put the book down smiling at the wrap-up. I had just stumbled upon this delightful book as I cruised Amazon’s suggestions and I am so glad I found it. I heartily recommend this book for historical mystery or cozy fans. I think you will find it captivating.”
-Ariel Heart, Mysteries and My Musings
“Annie is a character with depth and personality. She’s also a woman faced with huge challenges and limited solutions for a “proper lady” in 1879. In real life, the Annies of the world are the survivors. Locke shows great finesse in character development and provides supporting characters that are diverse and entertaining.
“From beautiful Victorian houses to horses, carriages, manners, dress, lifestyles, fog, and gas-lamps, the setting is rich with authenticity. The author’s research is thorough, and her descriptions contain details that are interesting and satisfying to readers who love this era. Locke’s mysteries should develop a loyal audience quickly. This novel incubated for almost thirty years during the author’s teaching career. Let’s hope that it won’t be thirty years before the next one.”
-Penny Leisch, Story Circle Book Reviews
“Maids of Misfortune is smoothly written, with appealing characters and a strong female lead in a story filled with real detection, a lot of period detail (is there a better way to get into the details of everyday life than through the eyes of a servant?), and a bit of banter-filled romance to help stir the pot. I’ll admit that I saw most of the solution coming, but I enjoyed reading on regardless to see how it was done. Fun reading for historical mystery fans, especially those with a taste for Victorian settings on the look for something a bit different.”
-Kim Malo, MyShelf.com