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Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery [Kindle Edition]

M. Louisa Locke
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (655 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.49
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

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, and one of his creditors is now threatening to take the boardinghouse she owns to pay off a debt.

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. The police believe his death was suicide brought upon by bankruptcy, but Annie believes Voss has been murdered and that his assets have been stolen.

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. Maids of Misfortune is the first book in M. Louisa Locke's historical mystery series, followed by Uneasy Spirits and Bloody Lessons.  Her short stories, Dandy Detects, The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage, and Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong, are based on characters from the novels.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

M. Louisa Locke is a retired U.S and Women's history professor who has embarked on a new career with the publication of her best-selling Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, including Maids of Misfortune, Uneasy Spirits, Bloody Lessons, and her short stories.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3347 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1449925030
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002Z13UGS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,465 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
163 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Cozy Historical Mystery April 1, 2010
Format:Paperback
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 (a liberated woman ahead of her time!) and the other characters, showing just how well they had been brought to life and made, 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.

Read the complete review at [...]
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96 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! February 10, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Annie, the main character of Maids of Misfortune, a feisty pseudo-psychic, is so real she seems to walk off the page. Her male cohort, the lawyer Nate, is the epitome of gentlemanly sex appeal. The mystery advances the sizzling but restrained attraction between Annie and Nate to an almost unbearable pitch as it leads them into the most interesting by-ways and corners of Victorian San Francisco. You'll want to yell at Annie like a kid in a theater, "Get out, now!" as she explores the library in the middle of the night-you just know someone's behind her. Is someone? Wait and see. You're there at the dance where the swells invade and Nate defends Annie against a masher. And the final scene, in which Annie and her accomplices . . .but I don't want to spoil it for you. The mystery is not so easy to solve, in spite of the clues, and yet its solution satisfies.
M. Louisa Locke has a Ph.D. in history, and her research is meticulous. However, she never lets it stand in the way of her story-telling, and, in fact, her deep knowledge of the past enriches the story and makes it more credible even as it overturns your pre-conceptions of the nineteenth century.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Mystery set in Victorian San Francisco March 23, 2011
Format:Paperback
M. Louisa Locke, a semi-retired History professor has written a delightful mystery set in Victorian San Francisco. In rating a book it is of first importance that I care what happens to the main characters and she has do a good job of drawing them in multiple dimensions and in a way that leads you to care about them. Secondly I look to see if I can figure out the plot before I get to the end. While she is very good at foreshadowing who the the "bad guy" is by the end of the book I was still unable to figure out several of the plot twists until she skillfully revealed them. Third I rate a book by how much I look forward to my next reading installment. This book I carried with me to that when I had a few uncommitted moments I could continue to read it. By the end I was willing to lose sleep to find out how the locked room (actually locked house) mystery was accomplished.

Very highly recommended and I look forward to her next book when it becomes available.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Victorian Mystery March 8, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It can be difficult for me to read books about San Francisco; it irritates me when they take too many liberties, and it annoys me when they get things wrong. That said, Victorian San Francisco was done well, and I felt like the setting was well handled; it was S.F., but it wasn't overdone, and it was never really about the city.

Rather, the book was about Mrs. Annie Fuller, the widow who has found a way to eke out a living by running a boarding house and offering financial advice as t...moreIt can be difficult for me to read books about San Francisco; it irritates me when they take too many liberties, and it annoys me when they get things wrong. That said, Victorian San Francisco was done well, and I felt like the setting was well handled; it was S.F., but it wasn't overdone, and it was never really about the city.

Rather, the book was about Mrs. Annie Fuller, the widow who has found a way to eke out a living by running a boarding house and offering financial advice as the clairvoyant Sybil. Things get complicated, however, when an old associate seeks to call in her dead husband's debts and a friend turns up dead.

I found myself satisfied by the story, the developments of characters and relationships felt natural and well paced. I didn't feel like anyone was terribly unbelievable, and I hadn't solved the mystery within the first couple chapters, all of which bodes well for the title. There are seemingly more titles forthcoming by this author, and I'm likely to seek them out, as this one was very good.
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars too boring to finish. preachy. February 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The protagonists role as fake clairvoyant was a fun premise, but the author is not interested in creating a fun book. She is much more interested in her character's attitudes than in plot, mystery, or amusement for the reader. the action is very slow, and everything is just so annoyingly preachy and political, and so heavy handed. Feminism is good, men disrespect women's brains, servants are overworked, working men should organize, rich men are cads who sexually prey on working class girls... pages and pages of this, masquerading as a mystery novel. I read books like this for escapism, not ham-fisted sermons snuck into almost every scene.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings
I was all set for a full-blown clairvoyant heroine, but it turns out a little differently in this book. I like the historical setting, and the issues the women face socially. Read more
Published 1 hour ago by Sandy Penny
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely story
Great story! I was trying to keep one step ahead of the mystery but the twists and turns led me astray. Wonderful book. I can't wait to read the rest.
Published 1 hour ago by Jeanette Spriggs
4.0 out of 5 stars educational also.
Really enjoyed this book..well written & informative about the mores of that century..made me realize how restrictive the lives of women were but the herione character was brave... Read more
Published 2 days ago by helen c. daniel
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Combination of History and Mystery !
While I usually read contemporary mysteries, I was curious as to how a "pre-CSI " mystery would unfold. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Hummingbird
4.0 out of 5 stars suzie
Great book and I'm enjoying the characters so far. The plot is different and I love the time period placement.
Published 7 days ago by sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong female character
I am sure there were a lot of women like Annie who took a bad situation and through strength of character, turned it around for their advantage. Read more
Published 11 days ago by deertoo
1.0 out of 5 stars Glad to reach the end
This was so slow moving, redundant, and predictable that I scanned pages and pages without missing anything significant. A murder mystery it wasn't. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Margaret Heagy
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fiction in an historical backdrop
The story immediately drew you in. Locke has a way of bringing you into the 'era' and making you feel as though you are 'there'. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Dori Bryant
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging cozy with interesting characters and a bit of history
I've been pleased to add M. Louisa Locke to my list of favorite authors after reading Maids of Misfortune and also Uneasy Spirits. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Beachy1
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly entertaining
Book was easy to read. I liked the author's writing style. Interesting storyline, worth reading. I look forward to reading the other books with these characters.
Published 15 days ago by REMcDonald
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More About the Author

M. Louisa Locke is a retired professor of U.S. and Women's History, who has embarked on a second career as an historical fiction writer. The published books in her series of historical mysteries set in Victorian San Francisco, Maids of Misfortune, Uneasy Spirits, and Bloody Lessons, feature Annie Fuller, a boardinghouse owner and clairvoyant, and Nate Dawson, a San Francisco lawyer, who together investigate murders and other crimes.

Her short stories, Dandy Detects and The Miss Moffets Mend a Marriage, give secondary characters from this series a chance to get involved in their own minor mysteries. For those of you who have read her work, Locke would love to hear from you at mlouisalocke@gmail.com, and she would really appreciate it if you would spend a few minutes writing a review on Amazon.com.

Dr. Locke is an active member in the Alliance of Independent Authors, and a Director of the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative, and she is currently living in San Diego with her husband and assorted animals and working on the next installment of her series. For more about M. Louisa Locke and her work, see http://mlouisalocke.com/ or follow her on twitter, facebook, and pinterest.

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