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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 (756 customer reviews)

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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, see also, Uneasy Spirits, and Bloody Lessons, as well as the two short stories based on the characters from the novels, Dandy Detects, and The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"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."  -Ariel Heart, Mysteries and My Musings
 
"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." -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."-Kim Malo, MyShelf.com

About the Author

M. Louisa Locke, a retired professor of U.S women's history, features women's occupations in her Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. In Maids of Misfortune, Annie Fuller, a widowed boarding house keeper and pretend clairvoyant, goes undercover as a domestic servant to solve a murder, in Uneasy Spirits, Annie and romantic interest, San Francisco lawyer Nate Dawson, investigate fraudulent trance mediums, and in Bloody Lessons, they try to determine who is attacking San Francisco teachers. The fourth book in the series, Deadly Proof, due out in early 2015, is about women in the San Francisco printing industry. Dr. Locke is on the Board of Directors of the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative, writes about self-publishing at mlouisalocke.com/blog/ and is an active member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3152 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002Z13UGS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,970 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
176 of 180 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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108 of 114 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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70 of 75 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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18 of 20 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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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debts and Deceit March 22, 2010
Format:Paperback
Annie Fuller, M. Louisa Locke's main character in Maids of Misfortune, is a spunky young San Francisco widow, who secretly supplements her income as a clairvoyant. As Madam Sybil, Annie, is one of San Francisco's most exclusive clairvoyants. When a client dies and Annie believes he's been murdered, keeping her role as Madam Sybil a secret becomes increasingly complicated, especially because Matthew Voss's family will be destitute and Annie will lose her home if she doesn't solve the murder. She can't just walk away.

At twenty-six, Annie is a widow without family to protect her. Since her husband squandered his money and her inheritance before he committed suicide five years earlier, the San Francisco home she inherited from her aunt and converted to a boarding house is the only thing that saved her from being forever dependent on her dead husband's family, who blamed her for his suicide. Annie inherited the house after she settled her late husband's debts. However, one of her husband's creditors believes he can intimidate her and rob her of a successful business, as well as her independence.

If all of this isn't strange enough, Annie does the unthinkable for a woman in 1879. She decides to go undercover, as a maid named Lizzie, and find out what happened. In the process, she finds herself falling in love with her dead client's attorney, Nate Dawson. As Annie and Nate chase criminals, Nate finds himself strongly attracted to Annie and thoroughly confused by her intelligence, independence, and sometimes-unladylike behavior. He soon learns that Annie is also versed in finance and the stock market, thanks to her father, and that she knows a great deal about her client's financial affairs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery Devine
Locke does a great job with this book. Really takes one back to the 1800s. It's one great mystery to be read, and see the detail Locke puts through her writing, and her style is... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A breezy historical mystery for filling up a carefree afternoon...
A spunky, young widow (part-time clairvoyant) running an ailing boarding house has a client die mysteriously and seeks to solve the riddle and reap the benefits. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Don Kidwell
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
boring
Published 8 days ago by Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely loved this book.
It's rare that I find a novel set in the time period of the 17-1800s that doesn't sink into a bottomless pit of detailed description. Read more
Published 11 days ago by kay pope
4.0 out of 5 stars great read
Enjoyed reading this book. It had great twists and turns. The plot was delightfully original and the period details intriguing.
Published 15 days ago by Joan McGillycuddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This was a great book. Full of mystery, intrigue, and true to the era of the time, where women treated as not having the brains to think or take care of themselves. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Nilda
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Victorian Era Mystery
Enjoyed the first book of this series just as much as the second. Looking forward to the rest of them in order now. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Roberta W. Proctor
4.0 out of 5 stars Maids of Misfortune was a good quick read
Maids of Misfortune was a good quick read. I like the way it was written and the characters. It was simply intriguing.
Published 17 days ago by J. Isaacson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very entertaining
Published 20 days ago by roger collins
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a murder mystery that brings you into the ...
This is a murder mystery that brings you into the Victorian Era. As a result our female heroine who wants to solve a murder finds it very difficult. Read more
Published 24 days ago by VangieGirl
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More About the Author

M. Louisa Locke, a retired professor of U.S. and Women's History, has embarked on a second career as an historical fiction writer. Her Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, 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 give secondary characters from this series a chance to get involved in their own minor mysteries. Dr. Locke is an active member in the Alliance of Independent Authors, and a Director of the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative. Dr. Locke is currently working on Deadly Proof, the next full-length installment of her Annie Fuller/Nate Dawson series. For those of you who have read her work, Locke would love to hear from you at mlouisalocke@gmail.com. If you wish to learn more about her books, her research, or to sign up for her newsletter so you will be notified of new publications, go to http://mlouisalocke.com/

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