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Maids of Misfortune (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 322 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 18 - 99|
- Book 1 of 7 in A Victorian San Francisco Mystery
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"Frombeautiful Victorian houses to horses, carriages, manners, dress, lifestyles,fog, and gas-lamps, the setting is rich with authenticity. The author'sresearch is thorough, and her descriptions contain details that are interestingand satisfying to readers who love this era. Locke's mysteries should develop aloyal audience quickly." -Penny Leisch, Story CircleBook Reviews
"Maids of Misfortune is smoothly written, withappealing characters and a strong female lead in a story filled with realdetection, a lot of period detail (is there a better way to get into thedetails of everyday life than through the eyes of a servant?), and a bit ofbanter-filled romance to help stir the pot."-Kim Malo, MyShelf.com
About the Author
- Publication date : November 28, 2009
- Print length : 322 pages
- File size : 4366 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B002Z13UGS
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,955 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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When you read Victorian, does London, shrouded in fog, come to mind first? Do you think of Whitechapel and Saucy Jack? In MAIDS OF MISFORTUNE, you will find yourself far from the British Isles in another city where the fog rolls in quite regularly, old San Francisco.
Annie Fuller is a strong female protagonist in a male dominated era in history. Her story is revealed over the course of the book as she embroils herself in the mysterious death of Matthew Voss. I found her story to be believable, and, in many ways, reflective of women's issues today.
I am finding that nearly every piece of fiction I have read over the past year or so contains the patina of current political issues. This is true even for books that were published well before the current situation. I think it is because every issue of equal rights and human rights is in the forefront of my mind. For example, the immigration issue, again front and center in American life, hasn't changed much since the 19th century. The nationality of distain in Victorian era San Francisco was Chinese; however, you only need substitute the social group under attack on any given day to see that we have not progressed very far.
When I review a book, I just don't do spoilers. I think it's bad enough that the description of many books does just that. I try not to read more than a word here and there in the descriptions myself. I delight in being surprised by what I read. I will, however, clarify what I mean by a charming little murder mystery. Many of today's mysteries are either cozies or hard-boiled and gritty. I would not classify MAIDS OF MISFORTUNE as either. The language invites reading by any and all age groups, and the story is told in such a way to highlight Victorian mores. I find this kind of writing to be quite refreshing.
M. Louisa Locke has created a well-rounded cast of characters, and I look forward to learning more about each of them. I found MAIDS OF MISFORTUNE to be an excellent introduction to a series that I have put off reading for far too long. If you enjoy a good mystery, you will probably find that this is just your cup of tea.
In addition to the slow pacing, this novel also suffers a bit when it comes to characters, and especially dialogue, which is ideally the primary revelation of character. Initially, the only barriers (other than fear) between the main guy and girl are disapproval and desire for independence respectively, and these barriers are quickly and predictably overcome. Significant parts of the dialogue seem both silly and too modern, but this is a flaw that might certainly be remedied in later novels in this series.
The one last difficulty that this debut novel has might also be highly improved by the second novel: the murderer is revealed without any suspense at the end. The primary male character, Nate, simply goes to another town to investigate an alibi and discovers that the alibi is completely false. Then he, and the reader, know exactly who the murderer is. Bam! Suspense (what little there was to begin with) ruined. There is a good climax scene after this that involves the hilarious detail of a rolled-up carpet, and the murderer, while no longer unknown, does at least behave in a convincingly terrifying and uncertain fashion until justice triumphs, so all is not completely lost, narratively speaking. It is quite likely that Ms. Locke’s further offerings in this series will have better dialogue and more successful mystery tropes; her writing overall is enjoyable, and her period knowledge is formidable. Cheers for a clever book title and an inventive plot device involving, of all things, a highly significant buttonhook!
Top reviews from other countries
Annie runs a boarding house after her husband’s crippling debts & suicide. She supplements her income by pretending to be a clairvoyant, Sybil, offering business & personal advice to her clients, who think she can tell their fortunes by reading their palms & birth charts. In reality, she is reads the daily papers for news on stocks, shares & businesses, & is very adept at body language & facial features.
Nate, a young & handsome lawyer, turns up at the boarding house looking for Sybil. He informs Annie/ Sybil her favourite client, Matthew Voss, was found dead - suicide. His uncle’s firm is the Voss family lawyer. He suspects Matthew Voss & Sybil were having an affair as Matthew had left his family quite destitute. However, she tells him that their relationship was more a friendship & she was his business advisor. Matthew’s shares were doing well so she suspects murder.
Annie decides to go undercover in the Voss family home by pretending to be a servant girl, Lizzie. She wants proof that Matthew was murdered, possibly by someone there...
I found the beginning of this book to be a little slow, but I’m glad I persevered as I did enjoy it. I liked the gentle romance between Nate & Annie. I did figure out who the murderer was. Thanks to Amazon & the author for making this (& several other books in this series) for free, although I would have paid for them.
But lines like "...the conjunction of the both the moon and Venus"....is an obvious error in my eyes and someone should have spotted it There were a lot of apostrophes being misplaced, curtsy spelt that way and then also curtsey, chagrinned and not chagrined, fiance not fiancee......sigh.......
Gentlemen was used instead of gentleman, we heard about Nate's younger sister, then we learn she's his only sister then he refers to her as his youngest sister !! Parley was used and not parlay and crape and not crepe, twice used insure and not ensure, pour and not pore, discernable and not discernible, take and not taking and she also suddenly spells Sibyl as Sybil !!! That's pretty unforgivable and I can't believe this many mistakes found their way to the finished article.
I grew a little bored of Amelia dropping everything all the time. There were some highly amusing moments in it here and there. I got a kick out of the ending with the three women. That was brilliantly executed. I have the second book downloaded but I hope it's better edited. I hope perhaps Annie and Nate continue to be pals as well and not falling out !!
This could have been good if it had been ruthlessly edited. Will I read another? Yes, if it’s free but if not I shall try a sample first. Maybe a second book will be improved.
I found both Annie and Nate very sympathetic, and the other characters were also well-drawn. I was happily lead along the twisting path to the solution of the murders and found it difficult to put down. Of course, my knowledge of 19th century San Francisco is pretty dismal, so I wouldn't pick up on any inconsistencies, and my copy did not seem to be subbed to a lower standard than is usual.
I would definitely recommend this book to those who like murder mysteries, with a hint of romance! Certainly, I will be reading the other books in the series.