Widow Annie Fuller runs a San Francisco boarding house in 1879. She learns that her husband, just before committing suicide, squandered their money and incurred a debt that she is now being told she must pay or lose her business. Annie, though, has a secret. For a long time she has been supplementing her income as Madame Sibyl, an exclusive psychic who specializes in investment advice.
When one of Madame Sibyl’s clients turns up dead, she is considered a suspect. Police Officer Nate Dawson, assigned to investigate, has a problem. He is drawn to Annie, but then learns of her secret identity.
Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery by M., Louisa Locke is a finely woven story, evocative of the era, with richly drawn characters, but with all the hallmarks of a good mystery. The language rings true and the settings are so descriptive you can smell the salty San Francisco air and feel the damp fog.
A don’t miss book. Four stars.