It is May, 1922, and the nation is going through a depression. Daisy Gumm Majesty does not believe in ghosts or the paranormal; however, she is considered to be "the premier spiritualist in the community" by the residents of Pasadena, California. Yes, Daisy knows her work is pure hogwash but it earns more of an income than any normal job she could do in today's market. Thanks to the cursed Kaiser and his cursed mustard gas, Daisy's husband, Billy, is unable to work. It is up to Daisy to provide for the family. Besides, those who request her services benefit too. When Daisy consults Rolly, her fictional spiritual conductor, her employer usually feels better, an easing of stress.
Daisy has been in love with Billy all her life. His disability has not changed her feelings one iota. Though Billy loves Daisy just as much, he cannot help but feel that she would be better off without him. This worries Daisy greatly because she has recently noticed how much morphine syrup her husband has on hand. Should Billy do something drastic, Daisy's world would seem to end. Fortunately, Billy has Saturday mornings to look forward to. That is when Daisy and Billy take their dachshund, Spike, for his dog-obedience lessons.
A motion picture is being filmed on the Winkworth estate. Daisy is hired by Lola de la Monica, the lovely, yet spoiled, star who is prone to temper tantrums, to be her spiritual advisor on the set. The woman seems to thrive on drama. She causes so many filming delays that the crew begins calling her "de la Monster" behind her back. Matters are made worse when Lola begins receiving poison-pen letters. Lola's hysterics keeps everyone on edge and Daisy is the only one who can get the actress to even halfway behave herself. This often means that Daisy has to work some nights, in addition to her time on set, and she hates not being able to spend those evenings with Billy.
Daisy's best friend, Mr. Harold Kincaid, also asks for her help. (Harold is the costumier for the movie.) His friend, Monty Mountjoy (the male lead), is receiving poison-pen letters too. The same villain is obviously sending the notes to both stars because they are duplicates. Monty needs Daisy to assist him in identifying the culprit without police involvement. If the law investigates, it would become public knowledge that Monty prefers the company of men, instead of women. His career would be ruined.
If all of this is not enough to give Daisy daily headaches, Detective Sam Rotondo is stationed on the same picture set. Sam is Billy's best friend and the biggest pain in Daisy's side. Sam and two other officers are guarding a new motion-picture device that is being used. Word has it that the Germans may try to steal it. Just how Daisy plans to still the venomous pen - under Sam's nose - is a mystery to her!
***** FIVE STARS! I cannot express how much I have been enjoying Daisy's mysteries. My mother always told me, "Never trouble Trouble, unless Trouble troubles you." Too bad for Daisy that Trouble loves giving her trouble. Daisy never has to go looking for problems. They just jump in front of her, from out of the bushes, and shout, "Boo!"
Alice Duncan has a warm writing style. The story is written as if the reader was visiting Daisy and she was relating her adventure. As when one is chatting with a good friend, Daisy wanders just a little off topic at times, apologizes for the distraction, and then continues on with her story. The conversations in the tale stay true to the time setting, which makes everything more realistic too. Terms are used from the 1920's, such as "the cat's meow", "You're a trump.", and "swell". It all blends together to create an entertaining mystery guaranteed to please. Absolutely perfect! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.