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Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery by [Locke, M. Louisa]
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Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,538 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in Victorian San Francisco Mysteries (5 Book Series)
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Into Dust (The Montana Hamiltons) by B.J. Daniels
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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, including Maids of MisfortuneUneasy SpiritsBloody Lessons, and Deadly Proof, and the novella, Violet Vanquishes a Villain.  Not content with writing about the past, Locke has recently turned to the future with a coming of age adventure, Between Mountain and Sea, as part of the open source science fiction world of the Paradisi Chronicles.

Dr. Locke is on the Board of Directors of the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative, is a founding member of the Paradisi Chronicles, writes about self-publishing at mlouisalocke.com/blog/ and is an active member of the Alliance of Independent Authors

Product Details

  • File Size: 3283 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: November 28, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002Z13UGS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maids of Misfortune follows the adventures of a widow living in San Francisco in 1879, running a boardinghouse. The author asks us to swallow an improbable set-up right at the beginning, namely that the respectable boardinghouse owner works on the side disguised as a fortuneteller. Hmmm. . . wouldn't most people connect the identity of the two pretty quickly? Oh well, I decided to accept the situation and read on.
One of the fortuneteller's favorite customers dies unexpectedly in his home. The police are sure it was suicide, but our main character is convinced it was murder. So far this is a pretty standard murder mystery situation.
Unfortunately, what the author does with the situation doesn't manage to make it more than run-of-the-mill. I wanted to like the book more than I in fact did, since the author obviously lavished loving care on period details such as descriptions of furnishings and servants' activities. Plus, for anyone who might not realize that there were smart and capable women even way back then, she champions women's rights at every opportunity. But period details and women's rights do not make an involving murder mystery, unfortunately.
Another problem is that the author runs into some difficulties when she attempts to write conversations in the style of English that people in San Francisco would have used more than a century ago. The occasional modern phrase slips in, and there are some strange typos when she tries to use old-fashioned words ("straightened circumstances" instead of "straitened"). All of this kept me from feeling that I was there, experiencing the story along with the characters.
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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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